ANYONE unwell with coronavirus symptoms is urged not to hesitate in booking a test for the deadly virus - you will not be left to wait.
Ballarat's COVID-19 screening clinics remain fully booked coming out of the weekend with a surge in returned travellers from New South Wales seeking mandatory tests. Drive-through testing clinics in Melbourne have reports of people queued hours for tests and some turned away.
UFS primary care operations manager Danielle Trezise said spaces were being kept in Ballarat for people with symptoms. This includes those with coughs, colds, influenza and hayfever symptoms that mirror COVID-19.
Ms Trezise said tests for returned travellers were being evenly spread in the next couple of days because anyone who had arrived from New South Wales after midnight on New Year's Eve had to quarantine for 14 days regardless of the test result.
If you had not been to New South Wales and had symptoms, Ms Trezise said it was important to get tested as soon as possible and cleared so you no longer need self-isolate.
Despite long queues in Melbourne, Ms Trezise said there had not been the overflow of Melburnians seeking a test in Ballarat, largely because bookings for returned travellers had been spread across the week. This would leave Melburnians waiting until at least Thursday for a test in Ballarat, compared to waiting hours in a car one day for a test closer to home.
The UFS-led clinic in Errard Street South has been at capacity, 180 people per day, since late last week. A Ballarat Health Services support clinic, which opened on Saturday, tested about 200 people on Sunday alone.
Ms Trezise expected these levels to remain high the next fortnight with returned New South Wales travellers also needing to take a day 11 follow-up test.
BHS enacted its COVID-19 reemergence plan on Friday, to support extra testing but also to modify visitor and personal protective equipment requirements across all its facilities.
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BHS acting chief executive Craig Wilding said each return of the virus had its own challenges and it was important the community keep working together until a vaccine had successfully been rolled out in Australia.
"We understand that many - if not most - of those giving and receiving tests have had much-needed holidays thrown into chaos," Mr Wilding said.
"Thank you to the Ballarat community for their support and understanding over the long weekend, and thank you to staff across Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat Community Health, and UFS for the superb work they did over recent days in meeting this demand."
Mr Wilding urged people to be patient and to reach out to check on family and friends who were isolating and offer to drop by supplies.
Ballarat's COVID-19 free testing clinics are by appointment only. To book in Errard Street, book online or phone 4311 1571 or for Little Bridge Street, phone 5320 8889.
Do not go to BHS Base Hospital emergency department seeking a test.
Who needs to quarantine?
If you/your household:
arrived back in Victoria before midnight 31 December
had not been in Wollongong, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, or Sydney in the 14 days before midnight 31 December
Isolate until everyone in the household receives a negative test.
If you/ your household:
arrived between midnight 21 December to 11.59pm on 31 December 2020, and
had visited Northern Beaches, Greater Sydney, Central Coast Blue Mountains or Wollongong or an exposure site in NSW on the listed exposure dates
Get a test AND
Quarantine for 14 days from the time you last left these locations, regardless of test the result.
If you/your household:
Arrived back in Victoria after midnight 31 December
Get a test AND
Quarantine for 14 days from arrival date back in Victoria regardless of test the result.
Any Victorians currently quarantining can access emergency assistance including help to access medial/pharmaceutical services, food relief and financial support. Information on supports available can be found at dhhs.vic.gov.au/quarantine-isolation-extra-help-and-support-coronavirus-covid-19.