WITH regional coronavirus numbers taking a huge drop yesterday, the opening of a new ‘drive through’ testing station at the Leongatha Hospital might be seen as too little too late by some.

But not so Gippsland Southern Health Service CEO Mark Johnson.

He’s delighted to see the centre opening at the Leongatha Memorial Hospital and he believes the results at Leongatha might throw some valuable light on what’s actually happening in regional areas.

“We had 26 on Tuesday and by mid-afternoon on Thursday, we’d had a further 27 through. I didn’t check on the final figures,” Mr Johnson said today.

The drive through, located of the main driveway in front of the hospital, at the third canopy along, in front of the Primary Health Entrance will remain open for the foreseeable future on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Booking are via the Korumburra hospital number 56542777 where staff are handling the administration.

“Yes, we saw the reduction in active numbers in regional areas yesterday but is it too late? Hard to know,” Mr Johnson said.

“It shows we haven’t had a huge spread of active cases outside of the Melbourne metro area, Geelong and a few other outbreak sites but whether that’s a result of not having widespread testing available in regional areas only time will tell.

“We’ll be finding that out in the next few weeks.

“If we see the numbers increasing, you could say there should have been more testing early but if not, you might say we’ve dodged a bullet, for now, in country areas.”

The drive-through centre is open today, Friday, at the Leongatha hospital but you must make a booking first, by calling 56542777, on the day if you like.

On the phone they will take your name and address so they can put labels on your form before you arrive.

Appointments are at five (5) minute intervals and the centre has capacity today, just phone 56542777 and you can roll up today.

The message from the State Government and DHHS is that if you have any of the coronavirus symptoms, even mildly, including fever, runny nose, tickle in the throat, dry cough, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, loss of smell or loss of taste, conjunctivitis… get tested, it will help us get a handle on the true state of health in country areas.

And hopefully we have indeed “dodged a bullet” in South Gippsland and Bass Coast, where there are now one (1) and two (2) active cases respectively.