No plans for a COVID-19 clinic in Geraldton

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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File shot: COVID-19 Clinic signage at Royal Perth Hospital.
Camera IconFile shot: COVID-19 Clinic signage at Royal Perth Hospital. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

After the second case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the Mid West region on Tuesday, Health Minister Roger Cook said the department was not planning to set up a specialized COVID-19 testing clinic in Geraldton.

Mr Cook said at present there was only a moderate number of people accessing COVID-19 testing in regional centres like Geraldton and Albany.

As of Saturday last week, 96 people have tested negative for the virus in the Midwest with between two and three people tested each day.

Mr Cook said this testing was able to be absorbed into existing hospital systems and did not require a specialized clinic.

“Currently, there are no plans to open additional clinics in country WA,” he said.

“This decision has been made based on clinical demand and forecasting and ensures we are best utilising our resources.”

Residents of regional WA can access testing through the WA Country Health Service’s 100 hospitals and health centres and through clinics operated by Aboriginal Medical Services, SilverChain and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“Creating additional clinics would not expedite testing,” Mr Cook said.

Current advice from the Department of Health stipulates testing for COVID-19 will only occur if you are displaying symptoms and have been overseas or been in contact with a known case of the condition.

Earlier in the week, Panaceum chief executive Richard Sykes said if you were worried you may have the virus to call your doctor and schedule a phone or video consult.

“Only if you meet the criteria will the doctor refer you to be tested,” he said.

In Geraldton testing is currently done through the PathWest office at Geraldton Hospital, PathWest advises to call and schedule a visit after receiving a referral from your doctor.

Helpful sites for coronavirus updates:

- The Geraldton Guardian: Local news and updates

- The West Australian: Live blog and latest reports

- City of Greater Geraldton: Affected city programs, shows and events

- State Government: HealthyWA and Coronavirus info

- Federal Government: Commonwealth Department of Health and National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080

HEALTH ALERT: This coronavirus article is unlocked and free to read in the interest of community health and safety. For full access to Geraldton Guardian journalism, subscribe here.

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