Drive-through COVID-19 testing to start at Glen Innes and Inverell with walk-through clinic at Gunnedah

INVERELL and Glen Innes will be the next towns to receive drive-through COVID-19 testing services with Gunnedah offering a walk-through clinic.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced the drive-through clinics will commence operating from next week, with Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson stating the Gunnedah walk-through clinic will commence on Monday, May 18..

Mr Marshall said the drive-through announcement was a positive step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

“The current service at Armidale Hospital will draw to a close today, however, from next week the people of Inverell and Glen Innes will have the convenience of drive through testing at their hospitals,” Mr Marshall said.

“Hunter New England Health (HNEH) has advised the clinics will operate Monday to Friday between the hours 1pm and 3pm.

“Similar to the Armidale service, those looking to be tested must book an appointment in advance by phoning the Inverell clinic on 6721 9520 and Glen Innes clinic on 0438 925 949, between 8am and 4.30pm.

“HNEH has determined these times based on a trial conducted in each town. These clinics will operate indefinitely based on the level of demand.

“You do not have to have symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested, but if you are exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath you should jump on the phone straight away and book an appointment.

“I’m very pleased with this outcome. Both Inverell and Glen Innes areas have had confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past, so it is only right residents are able to access this form of precautionary screening in their home town.”

Mr Marshall said convenient access to testing would be important in helping maintain the spread of COVID-19 as social distancing restrictions ease.

“The Armidale ‘blitz’ has done exactly what health authorities hoped with around 1,000 people tested over the three weeks, with the total number of tests completed in the electorate at 3,112,” he said.

“While the daily number of new infections in NSW has consistently remained below double figures in recent weeks, the State Government expects those figures will spike as people’s return to normality.

“The only way to manage the spread is if people get swabbed. Not having a drive-through service in you town is not an excuse for going unscreened, you can still be tested by contacting your GP or local hospital.”

Meanwhile, Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson urged residents of Gunnedah and surrounding areas to make the most of the new COVID-19 testing clinic that will open in Gunnedah from Monday, May 18, 2020.

This comes off the back of the recent testing blitz in the fight against COVID-19 with over 3000 people tested in our region.

Mr Anderson said testing in Gunnedah also provides an opportunity for residents in neighbouring communities to be tested.

“The walk-through clinic will be held at the Gunnedah Hospital in the Education building.  Entry will be via Marquis Street driveway between Alkira Aged Care and the Medical Centre,” Mr Anderson said.

“People wishing to be tested need to make an appointment by phoning 6741 8000 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday prior to attending.

“Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath, is urged to get tested.

“People who have even mild symptoms such as fatigue, new muscle aches or pains, a change in taste or smell or a new runny nose can also contact the clinic to arrange testing,” he said.

“Hunter New England Health is focussing on identifying areas where testing is relatively low and further investigation is needed to ensure an accurate picture of COVID-19 occurrence across the District.

“While easing of further restrictions has been announced, I am urging caution and vigilance with the focus to stay on personal hygiene and social distancing. We want to progress safely and not go backwards.” Mr Anderson said.

Media Release: Friday, May 15, 2020