Moorabool has not recorded any new COVID19 cases overnight, but the tally next door in the City of Melton has jumped by four to 75. Of those, 20 cases are active.
It represents 14 new cases in the space of a week – including one linked to Melton Specialist School.
Of Victoria’s 79 Local Government Areas, Melton is number-eight for active cases.
The State has now recorded 2368 positive tests since the pandemic began – and 442 are still active
The jump comes as the manager of Moorabool’s only clinic offering COVID19 tests calls for more Government-funding to be made available for testing in the Shire.
In an email sent this morning to Moorabool councillors, Bacchus Marsh Medical Clinic Practice Manager Paul Kochskamper said people in metro areas were waiting up to four hours to get tested for COVID19 and he was concerned many patients might not have the chance to get tested.
A fever clinic run by Djerriwarrh Health Services in Bacchus Marsh and another at Ballan and District Health have both closed – and patients are now being directed to DjHS’s Melton drive-through clinic, which is about to clock up its 13,000th patient.
“Since Daniel Andrews made changes to the criteria for COVID19 testing, and the sudden number of confirmed cases in Victoria, patients are instructed to get tested even with the mildest of symptoms,” he said.
“Darley Medical Centre becoming a Government Funded Respiratory Clinic would to take the pressure and burden away from hospitals and emergency departments.”
Mr Kochskamper said his three clinics worked in well with Djerriwarrh Health Services and he wanted to maintain a good relationship with them but the number of COVID19-related appointments at the Gisborne Rd centre had increased significantly since the Bacchus Marsh hospital clinic closed on June 26.
“Over the past few weeks, Darley Medical Centre has reported full appointments between the hours of 8:30am and 5pm (meaning that) GPs from our sister clinics – the Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley medical centres – have attended to keep up with the demand,” he said.
“In addition to this, the added cost in sourcing and providing personal protective equipment, swabs and maintaining appropriate infection control is increasing.”
Mr Kochskamper said he had also spoken to State and Federal Government representatives about the problem and applications for a Government Funded COVID19 clinic were rejected several times. He also wanted support from Moorabool Council.
He also wanted to thank North West Primary Health and Australian Clinical Labs for their support during the pandemic.
However Djerriwarrh Health has defended its sole COVID19 clinic in Melton, saying only 830 people visited the Bacchus Marsh hospital clinic while it was operating and over the same period more than 12,000 attended the drive-through.
Chief Executive Belinda Scott said the hospital needed return to regular elective surgery levels and needed the space taken up by the clinic.
She also wanted to keep hospital patients – with issues such as the need for dialysis – separate from people being tested for COVID19.
“We’ve put extra resources into the drive-through clinic at Melton and around a hundred (out of 700) staff are working on COVID issues alone.
“We’re a little health service – and the Army medics have come on board because we’re getting tired. I can’t remember the last time we had a day off.
“The Army have been a great addition and it’s been an amazing experience. They’ve worked in seamlessly.
“Honestly they’re full of energy and are happy to be helping.”
Ms Scott said the drive-through clinic was working well and the average wait at Barries Rd was 33-minutes.
“The queues you see in the morning are usually gone by the mid-afternoon,” she said.
“If you see cars backed up to the start of Bunnings, you are looking at a 2 hour wait, but if you come after 3pm people can go through straight away and it should take less than half an hour.”
On an average day the drive-through saw 300-350 cars, but on busy days she said it was closer to 550.
“You’ll see three different staff as you move through. They’re there to help you. They’ve had to deal with everything from jump-starting cars to taking unwell patients to the Urgent Care Centre.
“Our staff have given their all.
“Its not easy working in PPE but they turn up every day and haven’t complained.
“They’ve been amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of them – they’re dedicated to serving the community.
“This team has gone above and beyond.”
COVID19 symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and loss of smell.
## The DjHS Barries Rd drive-through is open 10.30am-6pm weekdays and 9am-12pm weekends.
## People wanting to get tested at Darley Medical Centre can call 5367 5000.
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