A likely holiday heatwave and an expected boost in numbers has prompted Grampians Health’s Wimmera Base Hospital management to reintroduce drive through testing.

The drive through testing will be in the same location as previously, right next to the current clinic with entry from Arnott Street. The service will begin from 9am tomorrow (Wednesday).

Director Clinical Improvement, Risk and Innovation Sally Taylor said the decision was made after concerns were raised about people standing in line on hot days.

“Our testing numbers are definitely climbing. We tested over 1650 people in November and that is the biggest month since the pandemic began,” Mrs Taylor said.

“On Sunday we tested 139 and the lowest daily tally for last week was 75 so we are definitely on the increase,” she said.

“If the numbers are high then people are standing longer in the queues and on hot days they simply won’t be safe.”

Mrs Taylor said adding fans to the existing marquee was not an option.

“If we had fans in the marquee we could potentially be blowing the virus onto everyone.

“At least if people are in their cars, they can sit in air-conditioned comfort while they wait in line.”

Mrs Taylor said the operation would be a much scaled down version of the previous drive through.

“It will be a smaller marquee with a single line of traffic and we will be testing asymptomatic people and those with COVID symptoms,” she said.

“The testing will be more streamlined than last time but everyone needs to use a QR code that is available on our website and Facebook pages as well as in the newspaper advertising.

“After you QR code, you will receive a unique number that you will need to provide at the testing site.”

Mrs Taylor said she expected to continue with drive through testing until at least February, 2022.