Story by Charlotte Varcoe
EXTRA medical staff, known as a 'surge team', may be supporting Mount Gambier's Covid-19 testing station following lengthy delays for people requiring testing.
Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell said he has been advised by SA Health that a surge team was being sent to support the existing testing station resources.
Mr Bell labelled the current delays, which have been reported to reach up to four hours, as completely unacceptable.
"It is basic common sense, if the transition committee is going to change the entry requirements into South Australia, they have to increase the testing capacity," Mr Bell said.
"Our city shouldn't be disadvantaged because we are five hours away from Adelaide." He said the surge team was overdue following community reports of extended waiting times.
"We've had 20 months to deal with the ebbs and flows of Covid," Mr Bell said.
"We should be better at this by now.
"South Australia could and should lead the way for testing and result turnaround times and we can only do this by proper planning, resourcing and communication." Despite the difficulties, Mr Bell asked the community to remain patient and understand the difficulties SA Pathology staff were facing.
"I understand waiting in line is frustrating but please be patient and understanding of the SA Pathology staff out there, who are doing an amazing job under tough circumstances," he said.
An SA Pathology spokesperson said it was not planning any Covid-19 testing site closures or reductions in operating hours over the holiday period and would continue to monitor the situation.
“We will keep the community updated with any changes and adjust operating hours at our clinics according to demand where possible," the spokesperson said.
"We ask members of the community to be patient as our staff work hard to provide testing to the community, and we remind those waiting to be tested to keep up their physical distancing and hygiene measures and wear a mask while waiting to be tested."
According to new border restrictions, all people planning to travel to South Australia from interstate, including returning South Australians, must apply through EntryCheckSA and should take into consideration the possible requirements of testing upon arrival.
Applicants will be assessed on their level of risk and will be advised of any entry conditions.