Bath calls for urgent pop up COVID testing in Latrobe Valley

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath is calling on the Andrews Government to urgently establish pop up COVID testing sites across the Latrobe Valley.

Ms Bath said as the second wave of coronavirus continues in Victoria, it is evident Latrobe Valley requires additional COVID testing sites to complement the Federal Government’s Respiratory Clinic in Morwell.

“In the past week Latrobe Valley has now seen two major businesses report an employee with a positive case of coronavirus, while an aged acre facility has reported four positive cases resulting in more local residents requiring testing,” said Ms Bath.

“Appointments at the Latrobe Valley’s Respiratory Clinic are filling quickly with ballooning wait times.”

Public Health orders stipulate coronavirus tests must be conducted if an individual has even the mildest of symptoms or if they have been contacted by the state government’s contact tracing team.

During July, Victoria’s Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos announced the Andrews Government was establishing targeted pop up testing clinics saying it would ‘help provide vital intelligence and inform the further easing of restrictions.

The targeted testing pop up clinics were to focus on Local Government Areas (LGAs) with low testing rates, communities with high case numbers, high-risk workforces and vulnerable groups.

Ms Bath said Latrobe Valley fits the criteria for the immediate establishment of pop up testing facilities.

“Latrobe Valley is home to a critical workforce which supports essential state infrastructure and the agriculture industry, while a sizeable component of our community is also classified as vulnerable – we deserve greater access to testing,” said Ms Bath.

“Minister Mikakos must step up and immediately boost COVID-19 testing in Latrobe Valley to fight the escalating wait times.”

Ms Bath has written to Minister Mikakos requesting the immediate establishment of pop-up clinics in the region.

“To improve public health safety and address wait times, testing must be ramped up in Latrobe Valley”, said Ms Bath.

“No one should have to wait days for s coronavirus test, which adds to frustrations and anxiety – the Andrews Labor Government must act now.”