To ensure we are well placed to meet coronavirus testing, a new southern-based respiratory clinic will operate at the Statton Building of the Repatriation Hospital from today.
This area is normally used for outpatient clinics and community nursing and is not used for patient accommodation.
This follows the establishment of a respiratory clinic near the Launceston General Hospital ED last week.
This new clinic will be led by a team of nurses and operate during normal business hours.
These clinics are not open for walk-up testing, and all patients must be referred via Public Health Services and meet the case definition for the virus.
This means anyone who needs testing should first contact the Public Health Hotline, on 1800 671 738.
GPs are also able to direct people to attend the mobile clinic for testing if required, provided they have seen the person as a patient and determined they require testing.
After being referred to the clinic, patients will be assessed and tested by a nurse and asked to return home to self-isolate until they have been told their test result. Results will usually be available within 24 hours.
I strongly urge all those who have been asked to self-isolate post-testing to ensure that they follow these very clear instructions.
Testing has been available since late January and progressively expanded to the public hospitals, 3 Hobart Pathology collection centres, a clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital and a mobile site in Launceston.
Testing criteria are kept up-to-date with changing national recommendations, with a focus on persons returned from overseas with respiratory symptoms and persons who are contacts of cases.
So far, 126 tests have been completed in Tasmania with two positive cases. Both of these patients remain at hospital in stable conditions.
Ms Kathy Baker has also been formally appointed as the COVID-19 Incident Controller within the Emergency Coordination Centre.
Ms Baker is a highly experienced public servant and is well-qualified to support the Government’s ongoing response.
I acknowledge and thank all of our dedicated health services staff across the entire health system, who are continuing to work tirelessly to ensure Tasmanians remain safe and are provided the care they need.
Tasmanians can help slow the spread of viral illnesses by washing their hands often with soap and water, and using a tissue or elbow to cover their mouths and nose when they cough or sneeze, then disposing of the tissue in a rubbish bin.
For general information about coronavirus, call the national 24-hour coronavirus information line on 1800 020 080 or visit the Australian Government Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov.