Dr Jane De Keyser, Dr Bill Smith and Dr Chris Gill inside the new respiratory clinic in Cannonvale.
Dr Jane De Keyser, Dr Bill Smith and Dr Chris Gill inside the new respiratory clinic in Cannonvale.

Residents can help save lives as push for testing escalates

AS CASES of coronavirus continue to rise in southern states, a Whitsunday doctor says it is now more important than ever for residents to get tested.

Dr Chris Gill, from Affinity Family Medical in Cannonvale, said this week’s developments along with the border reopening in July and the ongoing outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales should act as firm reminders for people to get tested if they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

“Testing is one of our most effective tools in managing this pandemic, along with practising hand hygiene, cough etiquette and physical distancing,” he said.

“The sooner we can detect an infection, the faster we can do contact tracing and isolate potential cases.

“High-volume testing gives us the best chance of preventing community transmission.”

To date, more than 7200 tests have been undertaken at COVID-19 testing sites in the Mackay Hospital and Health Service region and more than 510,000 tests have been performed across Queensland.

Dr Gill has been heavily involved in testing at the Respiratory Clinic in Cannonvale, which opened in June.

He said there was no need to fear the COVID-19 swab, which has changed since the pandemic first emerged.

“When testing was first introduced, the worldwide standard was to take a swab of the space behind the nose, which can be uncomfortable for some people,” he said.

“We now know that it’s just as accurate to test using a deep nasal swab, which swabs the inside of the nose itself and is less uncomfortable for the person being tested.

“Early intervention not only means we can stop community spread, but it also means that we can monitor an individual and manage the virus and try to prevent it from becoming worse.

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“Coronavirus is not just the flu, it’s extremely infectious. Some people may have mild symptoms, while others will become very ill.

“In the past we may have gone to work or school with a cough or sore throat, but things have changed.

“Please get tested and stay at home until you are well, so we can flatten the curve.”

“It’s fast, it’s free and, at the very least, it will give you peace of mind. Your decision to get tested may also end up saving someone’s life.”

If people are experiencing any of the following symptoms, even if they are mild, they should get tested immediately for COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Lack of taste or smell
  • Fatigue

In the Whitsundays, testing can be done at the following locations:

Whitsunday: Whitsunday Respiratory Clinic, 48/226 Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 1pm to 5pm

Phone: 4804 5664

Appointments essential

Bowen: Vanguard Health Testing Centre, 53 Gregory St, Bowen

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week

Phone: 1800 980 574

Appointments essential

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