Locals flock to Gawler COVID-19 testing centre

More than 1300 people have been tested for COVID-19 at the Gawler Health Service testing clinic. PHOTO: File

MORE than 1300 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Gawler since a local screening clinic opened in late-March.

With the state experiencing a 12-day run of new COVID-19 cases as of Monday, the Gawler, Barossa, Light Regional and Adelaide Plains council areas are still free of active cases.

The latest SA Health data also confirmed the single active case present in the Playford Council area last week has recovered.

On March 20, SA Health opened a local testing clinic at the Gawler Health Service (GHS) to cater for Gawler, Barossa, Adelaide Plains and Mid-North residents experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms.

In a statement to The Bunyip yesterday from GHS acting director of nursing and midwifery Christopher Kelly, he confirmed 1364 people had presented for testing.

“As part of the statewide two-week testing blitz, 581 people were tested at the Gawler COVID-19 clinic during the blitz,” he said.

“Members of the community who meet the current screening criteria can still be tested at the Gawler clinic without a referral from their GP.

“It is extremely positive that we are seeing low numbers of cases across the state; however, let’s not undo all the good work.”

Statewide, more than 61,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, with the Lyell McEwin Hospital the next closest screening clinic to Gawler.

As active cases decrease in SA – only seven currently in the state – the State Government is planning to expand testing to vulnerable groups, such as healthcare workers, to possibly identify any asymptomatic cases.

Mr Kelly encouraged anyone with mild symptoms to present to the GHS clinic for testing.

“High levels of testing are an important component of South Australia’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and we encourage anyone with mild symptoms to continue to seek testing and download the COVIDSafe app,” he said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves and will make appropriate decisions on the need for a COVID-19 clinic based on official health advice to ensure the health and safety of the community.”

Meanwhile, Gawler Council has been assisting SA Police in enforcing social distancing regulations across the town, including monitoring business and public spaces.

Environmental and community health safety officers have been inspecting open businesses, parks and open spaces to educate local people on the regulations and hand out warnings and fines where necessary.

Gawler Mayor Karen Redman said the council was yet to hand out any warnings or fines to people in public spaces, while 11 businesses out of 403 inspections have been handed oral or written notices.

She added no further action was required after the notices, with the businesses complying with council’s directives.

“Council would like to thank and congratulate the community on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its associated restrictions,” she said.

“These are very challenging times for everyone and the way the community has respected, adapted and ultimately responded to restrictions has been exceptional.”

Sam Bradbrook

@sambradbrook

Sam Bradbrook joined The Bunyip in 2018 as a reporter and covers the Gawler, Playford and Adelaide Plains Council rounds. He graduated from the University of South Australia in the same year with a Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing and had previously interned at the Jakarta Post in Indonesia and The Courier in Mount Barker before moving to Gawler. In February of 2020, Sam was named the Young Journalist of the Year for 2019 by Country Press South Australia. He is interested in reporting on politics, healthcare, police and social issues and outside of work has a passion for sport and music.

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