By Jeremy Sollars
Queensland Health has opened pop-up drive-in testing sites at both Warwick and Stanthorpe Hospitals until Friday of this week, following a call for any locals with even mild COVID-19 symptoms to be tested as a matter of urgency.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young issued the urgent testing call yesterday – Tuesday 5 January – after confirming wastewater testing in both Warwick and Stanthorpe had returned positive results for ‘shedded’ viral ‘fragments’ of COVID-19.
In a statement yesterday Dr Young also confirmed the Warwick wastewater test results had been returned the previous Tuesday – 29 December – and the following day in Stanthorpe, Wednesday 30 December.
Queensland Health is yet to provide a satisfactory explanation to the Free Times as to why the information about the wastewater testing – and the call for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms locally to get tested – was not issued until yesterday.
‘Shedded’ non-infectious virus fragments found in wastewater can be passed by persons who are both active COVID-19 cases at the time or by those who have recovered, in some cases up to several weeks after recovery.
In any case anyone locally who is displaying any symptoms is urged to get a test as soon as possible, with the Warwick and Stanthorpe Hospital drive-in sites open until 5pm each day including Friday.
The drive-in sites open at 8am but Queensland Health has said anyone with symptoms who plans to present for testing – either through the drive-in sites or at either hospital’s emergency department – should call the hospital beforehand to make staff aware of their plans to visit.
Contact Warwick Hospital on 4660 3900 or Stanthorpe Hospital on 4683 3400.
“We are calling on the Warwick and Stanthorpe communities to get tested immediately if they have COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild,” a Queensland Health spokeswoman said earlier today.
“Testing is available at any Darling Downs Health hospital emergency department, with additional COVID-19 (drive-through) testing facilities in place at our Warwick and Stanthorpe hospitals from Wednesday 6 January until Friday 8 January, from 8am to 5pm.
“These additional facilities are:
• A pop-up drive-in testing site at Warwick Hospital, at the front of McCarthy House on Locke Street (the community is asked to approach from the western side, with traffic queueing toward George or Clarke Street to avoid any impacts on the New England Highway)
• A pop-up drive-in testing site at Stanthorpe Hospital, at the front steps of the main building (the community is asked to queue from the Bridge Street entrance).
“Testing is also available at –
• Charlton BP Truckstop drive-through testing site, open 8.30am to 4pm seven days a week
• Our Baillie Henderson Hospital pop-up drive-through testing site, open 8.30am to 4pm Wednesday 6 January and Thursday 7 January.
“We are closely monitoring the evolving situation relating to testing demand and are prepared to keep our pop-up drive-in testing sites open longer if needed.
“We are also prepared to open further pop-up testing sites at short notice if required.
“If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and planning to present to one of our hospital facilities for testing, please phone ahead to discuss your arrival with staff.
“In an emergency, please phone Triple Zero (000).
“We ask anyone presenting for COVID-19 testing to understand that waiting times at our testing locations can vary.
“Please be prepared to wait and bring your Medicare card and other items you may need (for example, your mobile phone, phone charger, medications you may need to take while waiting, food and water).
“You can also get tested at local GP respiratory clinics including:
• James Neil Medical, Toowoomba – appointments essential, phone 4632 4888
• Carbal Medical Services GP Respiratory Clinic, Toowoomba – appointments essential, phone 4580 1400
• Condamine Medical Centre, Warwick – appointments essential, phone 4666 9666