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A new drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic in Horsham can test up to 400 people a day.

Wimmera Health Care Group’s Covid-19 team will open the drive-through tomorrow morning with the support of six Australian Defence Force personnel. The clinic will operate daily from 9am until 5pm for people with respiratory symptoms of any type, no matter how mild.

No appointments are needed for drive-through testing.

WHCG director Clinical Services Maree Woodhouse said CEO Catherine Morley persuaded the Department of Health and Human Services to support a drive-through testing station as clinic numbers soared in the past week.

“In a couple of weeks our assessment clinic went from between 10-20 tests a day to 40 or 50 tests,” Ms Woodhouse said.

“The opening of the drive-through clinic was paramount because we were going to be booked out for the weekend before it even started,” she said.

“We are expecting an influx of people over the next few weeks but we should be able to comfortably deal with numbers now.

”Ms Woodhouse wanted to advise anyone who had made a booking for the weekend that they would no longer be valid.

“The bookings have been rescinded so those people can just use the drive-through testing with everyone else now,” she said.

“That shouldn’t cause any inconvenience for them but I apologise if it does. It’s just logistically impossible to make a booking with a drive-through service only.”

Ms Woodhouse said testing would still be exclusively for symptomatic people.

“The DHHS do not want us to test asymptomatic people so to be eligible for testing you must show symptoms or have been referred for testing by the DHHS as someone who has been in contact with a positive case.

“We do want you to test even if you have the mildest of symptoms and we want you to come to the drive-through the moment you experience those symptoms – no matter how mild they are.

“If you can’t come straight away then isolate yourself until you can attend.”

Ms Woodhouse said the other vitally important instruction for anyone tested was to isolate until they received notice of a negative result.

“As soon as you have been tested, you must go straight home and isolate until you are told you are clear.

“Isolation means no contact with anyone else, no visitors and use separate bathrooms and separate cooking and eating utensils from other householders.

“We also strongly advise all community members over 12 years of age to wear a mask when they are out and about in the community and cannot guarantee consistent social distancing of 1.5 metres.”

Entry to the WHCG COVID-19 drive-through assessment clinic is via Arnott Street (from the Robinson Street end), opposite Jardwa Park and after testing, cars will exit left into Read Street. It is open 9am until 5pm, seven days a week. People with no access to a vehicle are advised to attend the Lister House Assessment Clinic by booking through its online service.

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