By Shelby Brooks

MORE than 11,000 COVID-19 tests have been taken at Bass Coast Health’s two testing clinics since the start of the pandemic.

And although daily average cases of COVID-19 continue to drop, Bass Coast Health has increased testing services for the region as a concerted effort to stave off future outbreaks.

“Our testing numbers are steady. As restrictions ease, we expect to see more people present from outside of the region and from metropolitan Melbourne,” Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said.

“We will continue to monitor demand for the service.”

As of October 18, Wonthaggi Hospital and Cowes Urgent Care Centre have collectively taken 11,454 tests in the eight months since the first test was taken on March 14.

Despite regional Victoria’s daily average staying below 0.5 for the last two weeks, people are continuing to be tested every day.

At Wonthaggi Hospital, 305 tests were undertaken between Monday, October 12 and Sunday, October 18.

Cowes Urgent Care Centre took 118.

“Singularly, the most important thing everyone can do is to get tested and to encourage anyone we know who has the slightest of symptoms to get tested,” Ms Child said.

Bass Coast Health offers testing for all individuals with symptoms, as well as for workers in high-risk areas (e.g. health, aged care, food processing) that are asymptomatic as directed by the Victorian government, and patients prior to operations.

“We have observed tremendous effort to respond to the risk of COVID-19 and I commend everyone in this region for their tenacity,” Ms Child said.

“Despite our preparedness, Bass Coast Health is in the lap of the community.

“Bass Coast Health is counting on community members to continue to maintain safety mechanisms; physical distance, wash hands often, wear masks and avoid crowds. Importantly, we need to be kind to ourselves and others, and this will see us through.”