Fast-track digital booking to cut COVID testing queues

23 Jul 2021
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Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called on the State Government to fast-track their promised digital booking system for COVID-19 testing as the lines at regional testing centres, including Mount Barker and Victor Harbor, continue to grow.

“I welcome recent news of extra testing sites being opened and the announcement of a digital booking system to prevent huge line-ups, but we need these measures implemented immediately,” Rebekha said today.

“There is enormous pressure on our health system, and our community recognises that and we are extremely grateful for the hard work of our frontline workers, but the complaints about huge line-ups at Mount Barker and Victor Harbor have been reported to authorities for some time now and nothing has been done.

“If the State Government wants people to get tested, then they need to make it as easy as possible or people won’t do it.

“You cannot ask your community, especially if they are unwell or have mobility issues, to wait in the cold and rain for hours and hours.”

Rebekha has requested information about the flagged digital booking system from SA Health and she has written to the State Health Minister, Stephen Wade, to ask for an urgent upgrade to the safety and amenity of Covid-19 testing centres in Mayo.

“Several constituents have contacted my office to express their anger and concern that they and others who are unwell have been forced to wait for long periods of time in the wind and rain outside their local testing centre,” Rebekha said.

“We’ve had extreme weather with gale winds, hail and driving rain in the past week and this has potential to be not only uncomfortable but unsafe for people trying to do the right thing and get their COVID-19 test.

“The Government's announcement on Thursday about introducing an online booking system so people can avoid hours of waiting is a good option.

"However, if that is going to take days or weeks to implement then SA Health needs to provide shelter at Mount Barker and Victor Harbor or find new testing sites where people can wait to be tested in the relative comfort and safety of their cars.

“I don’t think it is acceptable that the only alternative being offered by SA Health is for people to drive down into the city and join the huge queues at the sites in metropolitan Adelaide. I believe this defeats the purpose of the lockdown.

“We need a solution and we need to know what that solution is – sooner rather than later, and I call on the Government to tell us what is going to happen.”

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