Northern Grampians Shire Council, Frew Group, Stawell Regional Health and Grampians Community Health will be taking a proactive “in it together” step today, Monday 17 August, conducting precautionary COVID testing at Frew Group abattoir in Stawell.
It is hoped that by testing all 500 staff on site, any possible risk of asymptomatic cases will be identified. At this stage, it is not anticipated that any staff will test positive to COVID-19. The testing will take place across Monday and Tuesday.
The blitz is an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services who are actively monitoring the meat and poultry industry for potential coronavirus clusters.
Council is in charge of the administration of this blitz supplying five staff led by the municipal emergency resource officer while six medical professionals from Stawell Regional Health will be doing the coronavirus testing along with nursing staff from Grampians Community Health.
Pathology work is taking place at Australian Clinical Labs in Horsham so it is expected that results will be available promptly.
If there is a positive case found, Frew Group has an emergency management plan ready to go and council will support them to implement it.
Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO, Liana Thompson, said this was an important activity simply because of the sheer size of Frew Group’s abattoir.
“In partnership with Stawell Regional Health, we have initiated a testing blitz to ensure Coronavirus is not present at one of our region’s largest employers,” she said.
“It makes sense to do as much as we can to support them in preventing any possible chance of a Coronavirus outbreak. This testing blitz is for the benefit of the whole community.”
“In terms of a pandemic response, we are most definitely in this fight together and we want to do all we can to ensure our community is safe.”
“The only way we can do this is by being as proactive as possible with testing large enterprises ensuring any risk to our community is minimised.”
Kate Pryde, CEO of Stawell Regional Health, is very gratified by the team effort going into the testing blitz.
“I think what is outstanding from a Stawell Regional Health perspective is that the respiratory clinic team has built and expanded its clinical response team to be able to fully mobilise a clinical swabbing unit that can cope with 500 tests in two days, independently of external support,” she said.
“This really will support our community in knowing we can mobilise the required response should there be an outbreak here.”
“I applaud the respiratory clinic team for their dedication to this community health effort.”