January 18, 2022

The Werribee News is the local newspaper of Werribee, Victoria state. We publish weekly and has a circulation of five thousand's website visits per week.

Heatwave to shut Victorian Covid testing sites adds additional pressure

Covid Heatwave Victoria

The severe Victoria heatwave is expected to force Covid test sites to close, adding stress to an already overwhelmed system.

A severe heatwave is facing Victoria, and the condition of the already overwhelmed Covid state testing system is expected to become even worse.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts temperatures of 38C on New Year’s Eve and 36C on New Year’s Eve in Melbourne.

Temperatures already surpassed 35 degrees on Thursday at 2:30 pm in some areas of the state.

Nhill and Warracknabeal in the Wimmer region of Victoria and Hopetoun in Mallee recorded 35.8C.
The Melbourne airport recorded 33.1 ° C, and in the Olympic Park 28.9 ° C.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has warned that some Covid test sites may have to close in the next three days due to excessive heat, especially in outer tents.

In his daily update, Prof. Sutton explained that the temperatures in the tents can even rise by 10 ° C and that the test personnel work in full PPE.

It is an additional burden on a system that is already struggling with high demand.

There were 29 test sites in Victoria that closed at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday because they were congested.

Victoria recorded 5,137 new cases on Wednesday and 13 deaths. The state processed 81093 tests.

There are currently over 20,700 active close contacts in isolation.

Infectious disease experts said on Wednesday Australia needed a testing overhaul to help fix the overwhelmed system.

Professor Ben Marais, an infectious disease specialist, University of Sydney, said huge queues at testing sites were a big concern as they created a risk of transmission.

University of Melbourne epidemiologist professor Tony Blakely said an overhaul of how we do testing is needed “because we are in a different phase with more infections.”

Prof Blakely suggested a triage system at testing sites using government stocks of rapid antigen tests strategically to lighten the load.

“Those sort of things reduce the demand on the testing so we can get the best bang for buck, which means getting people through the queue fast and safely, and getting the results back to people fast within 24 hours so it’s more effective at dampening transmission,” he said

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