Latrobe City Council Mayor, Councillor Dan Clancey has taken the proactive measure of writing to the Victorian Health Minister to advocate for additional COVID testing resources to assist in reducing the lengthy delays currently experienced.
Acknowledging the regions positive case numbers are lower than other regional cities such as Geelong and Bendigo, Cr Clancey expressed concern that access to immediate testing was not possible.
“In the past few days the numbers of confirmed cases have increased significantly across Latrobe City, this of course is naturally concerning for our community,” Cr Clancey said.
“This is a time of heightened anxiety for all. With access to testing limited, this leads to further frustration and concern. Community members report having to wait several days for an appointment, confusing booking processes and misleading information about testing sites.
“We understand that resources are stretched across Victoria. We are not asking for an additional testing site, we recognise that with our numbers of positive cases that is unlikely. What I have asked the Minister to explore is the possibility for additional resources to afford our community the ability to access testing services in a timely manner.”
The matter of limited testing capacity has already been raised by Latrobe City Council with the Department of Health and Human Services. As part of its advocacy work, Council will also raise this matter in its submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into COVID-19
Cr Clancey said that Council was ready and willing to continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are hopeful the Minister will respond to our urgent call for help and that resources will be forthcoming. We are ready to work with government and the department to optimise the health and wellbeing of our community during these unprecedented times.
“The increase in positive case numbers have reinforced that this hidden enemy is out there in our community. Hearing reports that employees are attending work, despite symptoms, and the general anxiety in the community about accessible testing is why I will continue to advocate for additional resources,” he said.
As regional Victorians adjusted to the compulsory introduction of face coverings and a return to Stage 3 restrictions, Cr Clancey commended the adherence the community of Latrobe City had shown, noting it would go a long way in stopping the spread.