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UPDATE: University welcomes COVID testing clinic

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A four lane, drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic will open at The University of Newcastle on Tuesday.

The clinic will give the region more opportunities for COVID 19 testing as the winter cold and flu season hits.

A four lane, drive-through COVID-19 clinic will open at The University of Newcastle on Tuesday, giving the people of Newcastle and surrounds more opportunity for COVID 19 testing as the winter cold and flu season hits.

Medical Controller for Hunter New England Health’s Medical Controller COVID-19 response Dr Paul Craven said that as the weather gets colder and there are more coughs and colds about, it’s important people get tested to rule out COVID-19.

But what’s also important is that people get tested at the most appropriate place.

“Winter is always a busy time for our hospitals so we’re urging locals with milder cold and flu like symptoms, who do not need emergency care, to utilise other available options for testing, not just EDs,” he said.

“This will mean we have more space at our hospitals for those who need emergency care and we reduce the footfall at our facilities to protect our staff and vulnerable patients.

“The new drive-through clinic at the University will provide a fast and convenient way to access COVID-19 testing, along with the other clinics running across the District, and the free, bulk-billed testing being done in the community through other providers.”

Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath, or with symptoms such as loss of sense of smell or taste, is urged to get tested.

Testing at the University clinic will operate 8am to 4pm, Monday to Sunday from Tuesday 7 July.

Those wishing to be tested must contact the drive-through clinic on 4964 7497 to arrange an appointment, prior to attending. Phone lines open 8am Tuesday.

Earlier

The University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus is set to welcome a new pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic.

Open tomorrow (Tuesday 7 July), the clinic will run until Tuesday 1 September in a section of Car Park 1 at the University.

Given the central location and significant car parking areas at the campus, the clinic will ease the pressure on local emergency departments during peak cold and flu season.

Similar clinics have been operating across the region, including the high profile testing blitz earlier in the year at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Wallsend State MP Sonia Hornery welcomed the news.

“It is great to see the University of Newcastle and NSW Health working together on providing this pop up COVID-19 clinic to the community,” she said.

“With the cold and flu season upon us, our hospital emergency departments see a sharp rise in the number of patients presenting and this clinic will help take the pressure off our already stretched hospitals.

“I would encourage anyone in the community who has even the slightest symptoms to use the pop up clinic and get tested.

“We have all seen how quickly a second wave of the virus can spread, with Victoria seeing a surge in numbers.

“Our numbers in the Hunter have been very low, but we cannot get complacent and we must remain vigilant.”

Anyone who has experienced fever or the recent onset of respiratory symptoms, including a cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat should contact their GP, or go to to their local hospital or COVID-19 clinic for testing.

For information about COVID-19 or testing clinics, go to the NSW Health website.

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