The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Nhill testing site for truck drivers

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West Wimmera Health Service has set up a pop-up COVID-19 testing site at Nhill Trailer Exchange on the western outskirts of the town.

The service partnered with Ballarat Health Services and the Department of Health to establish the site in response to a recent spike in demand from truck drivers required to be regularly tested for COVID-19 to cross the border into South Australia.

A recent snap rule change by South Australian authoritie­s means that truck drivers must now have had a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of crossing the border.

This resulted in a bottleneck of trucks in Horsham, which has the two closest asymptomat­ic testing sites to the South Australian border.

West Wimmera Health Service chief executive Ritchie Dodds said the site should take pressure off other testing sites and make life easier for truck drivers.

He said the testing site would operate from noon to midnight until further notice.

“There are a number of moving parts involved in setting up a site like this, but we successful­ly did something similar late last year and that experience has served us well,” he said.

“We are very grateful for the support from Ballarat Health Services and of course the work of our own engineerin­g and maintenanc­e team.”

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has also called for the site to provide a base for a pop-up vaccinatio­n clinic to support border-community efforts to lift vaccinatio­n rates.

Ms Kealy was quick to point out circumstan­ces surroundin­g the issue in an email to the State Government last week.

She responded to truck drivers turning around at the South Australian border and driving their prime-movers back to Horsham and parking around Wimmera Base Hospital where they could get tested.

Wimmera Health Care Group also quickly responded to the situation, establishi­ng a temporary pop-up Covid-testing tent for truck drivers as snap planning for the Nhill project got underway.

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