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Wimmera Health Care Group’s COVID-19 testing team is preparing for an expected surge of more than 200 returned NSW visitors next week.

The surge will begin this Monday when temperatures are predicted to reach the mid to high 30s. WHCG Infection Control nurse Kate Summerhayes said almost all of the 254 people who tested at the clinic during the New Year’s Day long weekend would be returning next week for their ‘day-11’ follow-up test.

“A day-11 test is for anyone who is told to quarantine for 14 days because they have been in a high-risk area or been in contact with a COVID patient,” Ms Summerhayes said.

“This was the case with the NSW visitors who crossed the border while it was still open,” she said.

“The day 11 test allows time for a confirmed negative result before they officially come out of quarantine after day 14.”

Ms Summerhayes said most of Victoria’s COVID clinics would be planning for likely surges in testing numbers next week.

WHCG’s COVID Clinic coordinator Sally Kruger said the clinic was extending its hours in preparation. She also had some advice for people waiting to be tested.

“We are going to open at 8.30am from Monday to Friday of next week and we will close the line off each day at 12.30pm,” Mrs Kruger said.

“We are expecting some hot weather next week so hopefully the earlier start will help,” she said.

“Anyone who has joined the line before 12.30pm will be tested that day but those who come after that time will be asked to return tomorrow.

“I would advise people however that they could potentially be waiting in line for up to two hours so they should make sure they have their own water with them and have gone to the toilet before they leave home.

“People should also make sure they are ‘sun-smart’ because our shaded area leading to the clinic is limited.”

Mrs Kruger said people should also consider how they travel to the clinic.

“Parking around the hospital is never easy and with the expected surge, it will be even more difficult,” she said.

“We have increased testing staff for next week to the maximum capacity of the clinic and prepared the best we can but despite that, there will unfortunately be delays.”

So if you need to be tested next week, bring a water bottle, dress sun-smart and make sure you visit the toilet before leaving home.

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