GIPPSLAND Southern Health Service (GSHS) has conducted 300 COVID-19 tests in the first four weeks of operating a drive-through swabbing clinic at the Leongatha hospital but it wants to do more.

GSHS CEO Mark Johnson said although local testing had uncovered no active cases and the region was now free of COVID-19, it was important anyone with symptoms be tested.

“Everyone appreciates the reduction in restrictions in regional areas which has happened because of the good job country communities have done in reducing the virus,” Mr Johnson said.

“But that doesn’t mean the battle is over. We have to maintain vigilance and all the social distancing and hygiene protocols to ensure this very contagious virus doesn’t break out again.

“Part of that vigilance is getting tested and isolating at the earliest opportunity if you have any symptoms.”

A Call-to-Test service is also available for people who have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot leave home due to injury, mobility or other eligible reasons.

The Call-to-Test service is available to people with an injury, chronic health issue, or frailty affecting mobility, people with moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability, people with moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues not otherwise classified as a psychosocial disability, and carers for a person with moderate to severe disability. You must be over five years of age to access this service.

Close contacts without symptoms can use the Call-to-Test service if they have been told by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to get tested and meet any of the criteria.

Call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 and select option 9. to see if you are eligible for this service. If you need an interpreter, press 0 when you call the hotline.

When you call the hotline, they will ask if you have a referral from a general practitioner. If you have a regular GP, you can get a referral from them by calling them. If you don’t have a regular GP, a telehealth consultation can be arranged when you call the coronavirus hotline. The service will ask questions to see if you are eligible.

It usually takes one to three days to get results after being tested. Regardless of whether your symptoms persist, you must remain in self-isolation at home until you find out your test result.

Drive-through tests are continuing at the Leongatha campus primary health entrance.

People with COVID-19 may experience fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. Anyone with symptoms can call 5654 2777 from Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm to be allocated a time slot for their swab to be taken.