10/03/2020 | Steven Marshall MP | Stephen Wade MLC | Better Services

The nation’s first drive-through COVID-19 test collection centre will open at the reactivated Repat site tomorrow, supporting GPs and easing pressure on hospital emergency departments.

Premier Steven Marshall said the clinic was part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s comprehensive plan to prepare, and protect, South Australians from the potential impacts of coronavirus.

“The health and safety of South Australians is unquestionably my team’s greatest priority,” Premier Marshall said.

“This new clinic forms part of our strong plan which is singularly focused on ensuring South Australia is prepared for the impact of the coronavirus.

“The people of South Australia can be assured that we are a government with a plan in place to tackle the impact of this virus, and that we have world-class clinicians working around the clock preparing for all scenarios.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the new collection centre, established by SA Pathology, will support the COVID-19 clinics at the RAH, Lyell McEwin Hospital and the Flinders Medical Centre opened during the past week.

“As part of our planning and protection phase, our public health experts have looked at a range of innovative ways to respond to the outbreak in order to try to limit the spread of the disease,“ Minister Wade said.

“By establishing the nation’s first drive-through collection centre, a specimen can be taken with the patient still in the vehicle, minimising the risk of any person-to-person contamination.”

“Through initiatives such as our four priority care centres and other programs which divert pressure from our emergency departments, there has been a 12 per cent year-on-year drop in ramping, when compared to last February, and 34 percent decrease since winter.

“These initiatives put us in good stead as coronavirus infections develop.”

The Repat specimen collection service is designed for patients who have been assessed and received a pathology request form from their GPs.

The specimen will be taken by qualified SA Pathology nurses.

SA Pathology’s Clinical Service Director, Dr Tom Dodd, said the drive-through service was one of a number of ways that SA Pathology has increased its services to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“By offering this drive-through collection service, we are making it easier for those people who require tests to get them taken, while also trying to minimise the impact of COVID-19 testing for our GPs and emergency departments,” Dr Dodd said.

“While the drive-through concept is unique, our short trial proved that it is a successful way of safely collecting specimens without exposing the wider public.

“Running in conjunction with our domiciliary testing service, SA Pathology is continuously looking at ways of reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19 within the community.”

The announcement of the new collection centre comes as more than 100 senior SA Health clinicians and staff participate in a mock scenario exercise to aid preparations for COVID-19 today.

The mock exercise will ensure SA Health is equipped to manage the impact of COVID-19, whether it is in the immediate future or over a prolonged period of time.

The drive-through collection centre will be open at the Repat Monday to Friday, from 8am – 4.30pm. Patients will be required to book in advance of attending.

Information on how to access the service will be provided to GPs.