Drive through testing has been expanded at the Wonthaggi Hospital and at the Cowes Health Hub. Vaccination is available daily at the Wonthaggi Town Hall.

JABS every day, except Sunday, and more capacity for drive through testing.

Wonthaggi has seriously ramped up its response to the new COVID-19 crisis in Victoria, after the number of cases from the Adelaide quarantine hotel breach climbed to 26 in just three days.

With more than 10,000 close contacts already identified and over 150 exposure sites, numbers are expected to escalate, according to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

And Bass Coast Health has answered the call.

According to BCH CEO Jan Child, the Wonthaggi Hospital has already restricted visitation in line with Department of Health directives, allowing visits only in end-of-life and critical situations.

“It’s a precaution that must be taken. We have also reinstated the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) and staff management practices as a response to what is an evolving situation in Victoria,” Ms Child said.

“And we have seen the community respond too with 160 people through for testing today (Thursday) at Wonthaggi and 40 at Cowes.”

The peak earlier this year was 200 on New Year’s Day.

“We had all lanes open today, starting at 9am until dark, and we will again tomorrow and we’d like to thank the Bass Coast Shire for assisting us with the traffic management.

“The same at Cowes where we have added a tent in the transit centre so that we can set up for drive-through testing tomorrow and over the weekend. The centre will be open from 9am until 3pm, through the next five days and after that as required.

“Once again the Bass Coast Shire has been a big help there.”

Ms Child said that while the mass vaccination centre wasn’t open at the Wonthaggi Town Hall on Thursday, there was such a demand for vaccinations that the hospital completed a record 80 jabs on the day.

“We’ll be open again at the Wonthaggi Town Hall tomorrow, from 9am to 4pm and we’ll be going right through from there, six days-a-week with the only break being Sunday.

“We’re still encouraging people to use the COVID-19 Hotline 1800 675 398 to make an appointment however we are aware that the number crashed a few times today so we are accepting walk-ups but if everyone turns up for their bookings there can be a delay.”

Ms Child said there had been a worrying aspect to the vaccinations with some people trying to insist that they get the Pfizer vaccination.

“There are firm rules around the administration of the vaccines and we have no control over that so we’d ask people to conduct themselves in as courteous a manner as possible.”

The community vaccination centre at the Wonthaggi Town Hall will be open at the following times over the next few weeks, or as required:

* Friday 9am-4pm

* Saturday 8am–1pm

* Sunday closed

* Monday 9am-7pm

* Tuesday-Friday 9am-4pm

* Saturday 8am-1pm.

“We’ve been able to extend the services at Wonthaggi thanks to the commitment of vaccination staff from Koo Wee Rup and Foster, for which we thank them a lot.”

Ms Child said the vaccination service had already been extended to those aged 40 and over. Those aged 40-49 will received the Pfizer jab, as will others with underlying conditions. The rest will receive the AstraZeneca shot.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to get vaccinated and to get tested if they show any signs of symptoms,” Ms Child said.