Rebekha calls for COVID-19 testing clinic for South Coast
Posted March 18, 2020
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called for the State Government to set up a COVID-19 testing centre on the South Coast as a matter of urgency.
The local MP has written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Wade, asking him to set up a testing site similar to the nurse-led, walk-in clinic established this week at the Mount Barker Hospital.
“The testing site at Mount Barker will slow the spread of the virus and ease pressure on the hospital’s relatively small regional emergency department and the same consideration needs to be extended to the South Coast which has a higher risk profile for adverse effects for the coronavirus,” Rebekha said.
“The Goolwa to Victor Harbor region is not only the third biggest significant urban locality in the State with a population of more than 25,000 but it is also the locality with the oldest median age (58 years) compared with the state median age of 46 years.
“Residents aged 65 years and over make up around 40 per cent of the population and they have less access to services such as public transport to travel to dedicated COVID-19 clinics in the metropolitan area.
"If you live in Victor Harbor, it's a 70km drive to the clinic at the Mount Barker Hospital and a 75km drive to the nearest metropolitan testing site at Flinders Hospital and that is an unacceptable distance for South Coast residents to be expected to drive, especially if they are unwell.
“My office has received a number of calls from South Coast residents who are concerned about not having access to local testing services and their concerns are legitimate.”
Rebekha has also approached the office of the Health Minister and the local Primary Health Network to seek clarification about the coronavirus testing regime in place on Kangaroo Island.
“The Island has even less access to testing clinics on the mainland so it’s important that processes are in place and that they are clearly communicated to Islanders to avoid undue concerns for a population still very much in recovery from bushfires,” Rebekha said.
Please note: Residents who wish to access the Covid-19 clinic at the Mount Barker Hospital must call a Telehealth Consultant on 8393 1507 before turning up.
Potential patients need to meet certain medical criteria, including symptoms and recent travel, before they will be tested. The clinic is open from 9am to 5pm.
Image: Copy of the letter sent by Rebekha to Health Minister Stephen Wade asking the State Government to consider setting up a COVID-19 testing clinic on the South Coast.