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Wimmera Health Care Group team members working at the COVID-19 testing clinicWimmera Health Care Group team members working at the COVID-19 testing clinichave been disappointed by the number of people they have had to turn away recently.

Director Clinical Services Maree Woodhouse said many Wimmera Mallee employershave been requesting their staff provide evidence that they are COVID-free.

“Under DHHS rules, we are simply not allowed to test asymptomatic people justbecause they have a letter from their employer requesting we do so,” Ms Woodhousesaid.

“Even those employed by freight companies cannot be tested,” she said.

“The Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidelines last weekand they state quite clearly that the Victorian Government has not made testing arequirement for freight industry workers.

”Ms Woodhouse said the testing team didn’t like turning people away but they had to follow the rules.

“We want people to get tested but to be eligible, they must have COVID-19 symptoms,no matter how mild they might be,” she said.

“People with letters from their employer, school or community group will not be testedunder the current rules.”

The only people eligible for asymptomatic testing are people identified by the DHHS as a close contact of a known case and elective surgery patients requiring preoperative testing.

Ms Woodhouse said she did not want to deter eligible people from testing.

“We want people with any symptoms to continue getting tested, even if they havebeen swabbed before.

“We need evidence to show that the community is free of COVID-19 so the more proofof negative cases we have, the better.”

Ms Woodhouse said WHCG was grateful that the community had been compliant throughout the pandemic.

“Wimmera Mallee people have done the right thing and no laws have been breached.Even those who tested positive have isolated correctly and kept the rest of us safe.“

We are thankful to everyone for that.”

Testing numbers at the COVID-19 clinic in Read Street have averaged 20 a day since it re-opened after the closure of the drive-through service on August 20.

For more information on keeping your workplace COVID-safe, employers can go to:https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/preventing-infection-workplace-covid-19#industry-specificadvice

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