Townsville Bulletin

Testing sites to be boosted

Residents urged to check contacts

- LEIGHTON SMITH

TOWNSVILLE is meeting the threat of Covid-19 head-on with additional testing capacity ramped up to keep up with the demand for services.

News of a Covid-19 positive case in the community, followed by the release of a large number of exposure sites by Queensland Health, prompted a huge turnout of people looking to get tested on Thursday.

When Townsville Bulletin deputy editor Chris Mcmahon arrived at Willows Sports Complex soon after the news broke on Thursday about the positive case, he reported seeing 100 cars lined up.

Within 20 minutes he said that number had doubled.

By 2pm, the number of vehicles threatened to spill out of the stadium’s carpark onto Golf Links Drive.

Responding to the demand, THHS acting chief medical officer Niall Small said they were opening additional testing centres at James Cook University on Friday and Reid Park on Thursday afternoon.

They also increased the number of testing lanes at the Willows Sports Complex (1300 Smiles Stadium) from six to eight and were looking at establishi­ng a

pop-up testing clinic at Townsville Airport.

Dr Small urged people to closely monitor the list of exposure sites.

“We’re asking everybody to go to the Queensland Health Covid web page and check whether you come into the criteria of a close or casual contact, and whether you were actually there at those particular time frames.

“If you were, you need to urgently arrange to get tested. Please only present to get tested if you meet the close or casual contact criteria or if you have symptoms.”

The Townsville Local Disaster Management Group (TLDMG) said it was supporting the Townsville Hospital and Health Service to open two additional

Covid-19 testing sites. The Reid Park complex will be operated by Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology between 8am and 4pm on Friday.

QML Pathology will operate the second testing site in carpark three at James Cook University on Friday from 8am until 4pm. Members of the public wanting to be tested must bring their Medicare card with them. TLDMG chairwoman Jenny Hill said it was important that Townsville residents got tested. “The Townsville community has come together to stop the spread of Covid before, and we can do it again,” Cr Hill said.

“It is vital that as many people as possible are tested so we can identify any local transmissi­on as quickly as possible.

“The best defence against further restrictio­ns and potential lockdowns is to get vaccinated and I urge all Townsville residents who haven’t been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.” Townsville MP Scott Stewart there were three simple things they were asking people to do. “Get vaccinated, get tested and wear your mask.”

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Niall Small and Scott Stew art.

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