Aussies waiting hours for virus tests
Victorians are rushing out in droves to get tested for COVID-19 as the number of cases across the state continues to rise.
The sudden increase in demand has caused some testing facilities to be overwhelmed, leaving people waiting up to four hours for a test in some areas.
One worker at a COVID-19 testing facility in Melbourne's Highpoint Shopping Centre revealed there was already a two-hour wait time to get tested before they even opened this morning.
Samantha, one of the medical staff at the centre, told 3AW's Neil Mitchell that before they even opened their doors at 9am there were people in cars lined up out of the carpark waiting to be tested.
"We already have cars that are outside of the carpark so we can't actually line up cars at the moment because they are on the street," she told the radio host.
But Samantha revealed there was a way to skip the queue and avoid waiting for hours inside a car to be tested.
"My advice would be to people that can't afford to wait two to three hours in a car to call their GP," she said.
"GPs can provide people with referrals to get swabbed at some other collection centres that aren't these retail shopping centre drive-throughs.
There are some walk-in clinics and some private pathology collection drive-throughs around Melbourne and with a GP referral you can actually get tested there.
"I don't think the community really knows that way to get tested."
She urged anyone who was unable to see a GP to come to the centre for a test but warned most retail testing sites would likely have wait times of two hours or more.
The Highpoint Shopping Centre testing facility has been open for two months but Samantha said this is the busiest it has ever been.
"We have been open for eight weeks now and we have never had wait times at Highpoint more than one hour and yesterday we heard people were waiting three to three-and-a-half hours to get a test in the afternoon," she said.
Other areas had even longer testing times, with people waiting for more than four hours at a testing facility at Westfield Knox Shopping Centre, the Herald Sun reported.
Samantha assured people there were plenty of testing kits available but some centres have had to temporarily close because of the high number of people wanting tests.
"I think there was a bit of miscommunication yesterday that some sites were closed because they ran out of swabs. It's not the case, it's purely because of safety," she said.
"Once the cars fill the car park and line up out on the street we just don't have the number of staff to control the traffic out there at the moment.
"At that point we have to close temporarily to clear traffic for safety reasons."
Premier Daniel Andrews apologised for testing delays but said he was "proud" of the people coming forward to be tested.
"I apologise for any delays. In the circumstance it will be inevitable, there will be some waiting," he said.
"I'm always pleased to see large numbers of people coming forward and getting tested. It makes you proud seriously, the notion that people would give their time like that."
Victoria has recorded double-digit growth in new coronavirus cases for the seventh day in a row as the outbreak across the state continues to spread.
Mr Andrews confirmed today that 17 new cases of the virus had been detected, bringing the state's total to 1864.
One of the new cases is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, two are linked to a known outbreak while three are the subject of routine testing. Eleven cases are under investigation.
"What we can be certain of is that there will be some significant community transmission within those numbers," Mr Andrews said.
"We simply can't pretend that the virus is gone, that the virus is somehow not in our state. It's here, it travels so fast, it is so infectious."
More than half of the state's new cases since the end of April have involved family members spreading it to their relatives, resulting in the local government areas of Hume, Brimbank and Moreland in Melbourne's west and Cardinia in the city's east being declared as coronavirus hot spots.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on Sunday urged residents in hot spots not to leave their suburbs until community transmission issues were resolved.
- with AAP
Originally published as Aussies waiting hours for virus tests