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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Your guide to COVID testing for children under five

There are plenty of places to choose from when getting tested for COVID-19.

But did you know, many of them don’t cater for children under five-years-old?

All hospitals across the Hunter New England Health District will see and swab children under five, however if you turn up to one of the health district’s drive through services, prepare to be turned away.

“All hospitals will see children under five years of age so if children are sick we will see them through emergency and we will swab them through emergency,” Dr Paul Craven, COVID-19 Medical Controller for Hunter New England Health said.

“There are also a number of drive through facilities in the Hunter New England but we do not see children under five years of age as we have no medical practitioner available to assess them at those locations.”

Private drive thru services at Hillsborough Road and Brunker Road Adamstown will swab children under five.

“There are private drive through facilities and they will see children but they will not assess them medically, but they will swab,” Dr Craven said.

“For the public facilities, we don’t see children under five because we can’t provide that assessment service for the children.”

General Practitioner, Dr Joanne Wood said there are other options.

“It’s important to remember the respiratory clinics that are set up at Raymond Terrace and Tamworth have appointments available during the day so you can arrange an appointment, have your child assessed and swabbed on the same day,” Dr Wood said.

Both doctors stress that any child with a fever or respiratory symptoms should be swabbed, no matter how well they are acting.

“We do ask everyone to be swabbed, but not every child under five years of age needs to see a doctor,” Dr Craven said.

“We know that kids can have very mild illness and most of the time parents are happy to manage that by themselves at the moment we are thinking those kids are needing to be swabbed,” Dr Wood said.

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