Clare regional hub for COVID-19 testing

The first Federally-funded respiratory clinic in regional South Australia has opened this morning (Wednesday, April 22) in Clare.

The Mid North Respiratory Clinic has opened in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will allow assessment and swab testing of any patients in the Mid North and surrounding areas showing symptoms of  coronavirus.

Located at the rear of Clare Medical Centre (CMC), separate from the main medical centre to reduce any potential risks, the clinic will be free to patients requiring testing.

CMC rural GPs Dr Gerry Considine and Dr Phil Gribble said while there were about 15 State Government COVID-19 testing clinics across SA, this was one of four federally-funded clinics currently operational in the state.

CMC has been contracted by the Australian Government to operate the dedicated clinic and will have a rotation of eight doctors and five nurses running the facility.

“We are a dedicated assessment and testing clinic, and have access to a lot more PPE (personal protective equipment) including masks and sanitiser than some other clinics which, like us, were starting to run low on supplies,” Dr Considine said.

Dr Gribble said the federally-funded clinics aimed to ease the pressure on health services and limit the spread of COVID-19.

“This is part of the national response to corral possible infectious patients into a dedicated area to protect them, doctors and importantly, other patients,” he said.

Appointments for testing must be pre-booekd – there will be no walk-in appointments.

Patients with an appointment will be asked to drive to the rear entrance of CMC and wait to be called from their car.

Patients will then be assessed by a doctor and nurse to determine if testing is required, which, Dr Considine said with SA’s current COVID-19 testing blitz on until April 30, would be a high possibility for people displaying symptoms.

A swab would be taken for eligible patients who would then be asked to self-quarantine while waiting for results, or if requiring further urgent treatment, transferred to Clare Hospital.

Swab results will then be sent both to the patient’s usual GP as well as the Mid North Respiratory Clinic for follow-up. Current waiting times for results from SA Pathology are about one to two days.

The clinic will be open initially from 8.30am-12.30pm and then 2pm-5.30pm Monday to Friday. Clinic times may vary, so please check updates when booking an appointment.

Anyone in the region with symptoms is encouraged to book online via the HotDoc booking app or health.gov.au (search respiratory clinics – SA, which will take you through to the booking site HotDoc), through the Clare Medical Centre website www.claremedical.com.au or by telephone on 8841 3777.

Under state directive, the clinic will not provide ‘clearance’ swabs for otherwise healthy people who require one for return to work.