SA closes in on one million virus tests

·2-min read

South Australia is closing in on a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19, with almost one million tests conducted over the past year.

The state has so far conducted more than 994,000 swabs, which Health Minister Stephen Wade says gives it one of the the world's highest testing rates per capita.

"Building up our testing capacity to conduct one million tests in just over a year is an incredible achievement," he said.

"While this is a fantastic response, we must keep up the fight against COVID-19 and not get complacent. Even if you have the mildest of symptoms, you must go and get tested immediately."

Daily testing rates in SA have fluctuated considerably over recent months but peaked at more than 17,000 during November's Parafield cluster in Adelaide.

Since January rates have stayed between about 2000 and 6000 with higher numbers often associated with people from interstate being forced into isolation.

Mr Wade said maintaining high testing numbers was critical to finding new cases and controlling the spread of the virus.

"SA Pathology established the nation's first drive-through testing service and introduced an SMS service which almost halved the average waiting time for negative results," he said.

"It also introduced testing at private residences, residential aged care facilities and at our borders, which has allowed us to test even more people within the community."

SA Pathology director Tom Dodd said in the critical early stages of the pandemic in March and April, South Australia had one of the highest testing rates both nationally and internationally and still remained among the highest per capita.

"Each and every one of us still has an important role to play, so we encourage all South Australians to remain alert and get tested even if you experience the mildest of symptoms."