A testing facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been opened in Victor Harbor at the Southern Fleurieu Heath Service, next to the Flinders University building on Bay Road.
The clinic will be open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm (closed between 12pm and 1pm) and visitors are asked to park in the carpark off Bay Road.
Member for Finniss David Basham said the state government's plan to help and protect South Australians encompassed everyone, including regional communities where a series of clinics would open over the next few days.
"Our community will welcome this local clinic as part of the state-wide effort to contain and help stop the spread of the coronavirus and safeguard the health of all South Australians," Mr Basham said.
It is important to note that COVID-19 clinics which will be opening across the state are specifically designed for people who have symptoms (especially fever or cough) and have recently returned from overseas or have had contact with a known COVID-19 case.
Southern Fleurieu Health Service acting director of Nursing and Midwifery Amy Lee said the facility would play a role in minimising the spread of COVID-19 in the Fleurieu community.
"We understand the hysteria regarding COVID-19, but we need to follow the expert advice and flatten the curve on COVID-19," Ms Lee said.
"Patients will come to the clinic and this will keep them out of the hospital for the screening. There are two consulting rooms at the clinic and it is important to come here to be assessed if you have the symptoms."
Mr Basham said he understood the local community was concerned as the global pandemic continued to develop.
"Our best response is to stay informed and up-to-date with trusted official sources, follow the expert advice on how to protect our health and that of others, heed the bans on gatherings and look after the members of our community who need us," Mr Basham said.
He said it was extremely important that the community follow advice from trusted official sources including:
- SA Health for local updates and information - sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019
- Australian Government Department of Health for national updates - health.gov.au
- Smartraveller for the latest travel advice - smartraveller.gov.au
- healthdirect to check symptoms - healthdirect.gov.au
- Coronavirus Health Information line - 1800 020 080
"Our community has not escaped shortages of basic necessities caused by panic-buying in response to the coronavirus. Hoarding is completely unnecessary and it's harming some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It has to stop," Mr Basham said.
"The Government is not sitting idle. We're acting to minimise and slow the spread of the coronavirus in South Australia, including swiftly declaring a Public Health Emergency enabling us to implement all nationally agreed initiatives to deal with this pandemic.
"I thank Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade for responding swiftly to the needs of regional South Australians as part of the government's plan. I'm also very grateful for the sensible advice offered by the South Coast's medical community.
"It's urgent that our community continues to comply with public health advice and directions; this gives us the best chance of limiting and slowing the spread of the coronavirus."
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie welcomed the state government's decision to set up COVID-19 testing centres in more regional centres, including Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island.
"I'm really pleased the Health Minister Stephen Wade has recognised our call for more clinics in our community," Ms Sharkie said.
"When I heard that only Mount Barker Hospital had set up a walk-in clinic, I immediately wrote to the Minister because the same service needed to be provided to other regional areas. People who are sick shouldn't have to travel great distances to get tested. It puts everyone at unnecessary risk.
"If you live in Victor Harbor, it's a 70km drive to the clinic at the Mount Barker Hospital and a 75km drive to the nearest metropolitan testing site at Flinders Hospital and that is an unacceptable distance for South Coast residents to drive or use what limited public transport is available to them.
"Having the clinic at the South Coast District Hospital will ease pressure on the hospital's relatively small regional emergency department and relieve some of the concerns of our community at this anxious time.
"We understand a clinic will be set up at Kingscote in the coming days. Kangaroo Island had even less access to testing clinics on the mainland so that's welcome news."