Coronavirus testing in Adelaide is increasing amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne, as the state health official says SA medi-hotels have “excellent ventilation.”
- South Australia’s hard border with Greater Melbourne is now in effect
- Huge queues formed outside driving test stations
- SA Health has reopened the Tailem Bend test site to meet demand
Attendance increased yesterday at Adelaide’s main drive-thru testing clinic in Victoria Park, where wait times of more than four hours were reported.
SA Health said the increase in demand was in part due to SA’s tough border with Greater Melbourne, with travelers returning from Victoria who arrived before the required deadline to get tested.
ABC Radio caller Adelaide Dave landed at Adelaide Airport – where testing has also increased – just before the travel ban went into effect around 6:00 p.m.
He had hoped to get tested at Victoria Park late yesterday, but was forced to return this morning as the site was overwhelmed.
Queues stretching for hundreds of meters again formed outside Victoria Park and outside the Hampstead Rehabilitation Clinic test site.
SA Health has reopened the inactive Tailem Bend regional screening clinic in southeast Adelaide as authorities fight to meet demand.
Public health official Nicola Spurrier told ABC Radio Adelaide that SA Health will “look at all options” in terms of testing, including a return to a measure from the days of the Parafield cluster.
“We will do everything we can to make it easier to screen people today,” said Prof Spurrier.
“I just want to thank people for trying to get tested and apologize for the long wait.
“When we had a really high demand last year, especially around the Parafield cluster, we were able to post availability and wait times on our website so I asked that we consider doing that. today.
“Because we have this requirement for testing on days one, five, and 13, obviously we’re going to have that peak and then it will go down and we’ll have a peak on day five.”
“ The hotel quarantine is bad for COVID ”
The Melbourne outbreak is believed to be traced back to a man who, according to a report released yesterday, likely caught coronavirus through aerosol transmission in the Adelaide hotel quarantine.
ABC health reporter Dr Norman Swan told ABC Radio Adelaide’s David Bevan today that the country’s quarantine system “is not working”.
“It all starts with a jump in hotel quarantine. Just because South Australia is bad at hotel quarantine – it’s hotel quarantine is bad in COVID and it will never be good,” he said. he declared.
“You have to have isolated facilities like Howard Springs where they don’t share air. This is what South Australia needs, this is what every state needs for itself. Yes, it’s expensive, but how much is it going to cost to lock down – if it goes that far – Victoria for a week?
“It’s the system that’s wrong. If it all depends on the coordinated opening of the doors, by accident you get drunk, to be frank. You must have a cabin.”
Professor Spurrier said that while a Howard Springs-style facility would come under the Commonwealth of Nations, the SA medi-hotel system had been effective.
“We looked everywhere we can in South Australia and if we had had something like Howard Springs indeed we would have had this setup,” she said.
“What we have are the facilities we have. We only use hotels where we know the ventilation is excellent in the passages.”
Police Commissioner and State Coordinator Grant Sevens said a Howard Springs-type facility “should be considered” but would be “incredibly difficult logistically”.
“If we had known early on that 14 or 15 months later we would still be dealing with COVID and send people back to Australia and quarantine them, then I think that would have been a pretty obvious decision to invest in this area. . infrastructure right away, ”he said.
“The medi-hotels where we currently have them are the best solution for the moment.”
Professor Spurrier said that despite the surge in coronavirus testing, the vaccine rollout was not likely to be compromised.
“I don’t think there will be an impact on that – we have a top-notch staff to do the swabbing … but it just takes a little while to get it up and running,” she said. declared.
While the current hard border with Greater Melbourne applies indefinitely, planes from Melbourne continued to land at Adelaide Airport this morning, carrying essential travelers or those with other exemptions.
While returning residents will still need to be quarantined for 14 days, essential travelers will not – but must avoid high-risk environments and undergo coronavirus testing.
Passengers on a flight from Melbourne that landed in Adelaide just after the hard border with Victoria came into effect last night were still allowed to disembark.
The border was enforced at 6:00 p.m., but a flight from Melbourne landed around 20 minutes later.
Commissioner Stevens said the passengers were interviewed before they were allowed to leave the airport.
He said it was impossible to say how long the hard border would remain in place.
“We cannot set a timetable for this at this time,” he said.