Thousands of people who flocked to be tested for coronavirus following a plea from the Victorian government have created chaos with wait times up to seven hours long.
An appeal was issued for residents in Shepparton, 180km north of Melbourne, to be tested for the virus after a truck driver linked to two other outbreaks stopped there two weeks ago.
The driver was infected at Chadstone, east of Melbourne, before heading to Kilmore and onto Shepparton, in the Goulburn Valley, on September 30.
He only disclosed to health authorities that he stopped in Shepparton on Tuesday.
Three positive cases in Shepparton have now been linked back to the Chadstone outbreak, prompting warnings for people who visited a number of locations in the region to be tested.
There were chaotic scenes in Shepparton on Wednesday, with huge queues reported at the two pop-up testing clinics with people reportedly being told to either return on Thursday or wait for hours.
A Victoria Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesperson said testing clinics would stay open until 7pm Wednesday evening, and up to two additional sites would be established on Thursday.
“There have been delays there today because of the overwhelming demand. People have heeded a call to action to get tested,” the spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“Certainly we have heard of long waits. There is only a certain number of tests you can run in a town of 60,000 people,” he said.
“We accept that it may be frustrating for some people.”
Police are now telling Shepparton locals at the back of the line to go home and come back tomorrow for screening if they don’t have symptoms , or endure a 6 hour wait to get tested. pic.twitter.com/PhrcqSNsa5— Grace Evans (@GraceEvans2904) October 14, 2020
The Department of Health on Wednesday indicated a number of areas where people were at “high risk” of contracting the virus on particular days.
Anyone who visited Central Tyre Service in Shepparton between September 30 and October 13 should be tested, as well as those at the Mooroopna Golf Club Members Bar on October 4 and 11.
People at the Shepparton Market Place Medical Centre on October 8 between 9.15am and 10.15am should get tested, as well as those at the Thai Orchid Restaurant on October 7 from 7pm.
Visitors at Bombshell Hairdressing in Shepparton on October 7 onwards from 9.30am have also been urged to get tested.
Anyone who went to Bunnings at the Midland Highway on October 2, and McDonald’s Shepparton North on October 3 are being asked to undergo testing.
The Department of Health has asked that people at these locations at the times listed get tested immediately and quarantine, along with the people in their household.
High risk locations: Shepparton— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) October 13, 2020
📍 Central Tyre Service, Welsford Street – 30 September to 13 October
📍 Bunnings Warehouse, Midland Highway – 2 October
📍 McDonalds Shepparton North, 175 Midland Highway – 3 October
(1/3) #COVID19Vic pic.twitter.com/wOThMWfh9D
Those in Kilmore who visited the Oddfellows Café on September 30 or October 3 have been asked to contact the the Goulburn Valley Health hotline if they haven’t already been contacted by the DHHS.
Individuals at the venue on those dates have been directed to self-isolate until they speak with health authorities.
An alert is still active for people who visited the Chadstone Shopping Centre between September 23 and 27, with those individuals being told to get tested, even if they have very mild symptoms.
The Department of Health said on Wednesday “engagement activity” in the form of door knocking shops within the centre had increased.
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