By Colin MacGillivray
HEALTH authorities are expanding COVID-19 testing capabilities in the north of the City of Whittlesea as case numbers in the municipality continue to rise.
The number of active cases in Whittlesea leapt from 83 on Thursday to 155 by yesterday afternoon as Victoria’s overall number of active cases hit 2913, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.
A drive-through testing site in Mernda has been one of the busiest in the state since commencing testing on July 11, according to community health organisation DPV Health, which manages the site.
DPV Health chief executive Don Tidbury said the facility at Woodland Waters Reserve on Waterview Drive had tested an average of 400 people a day.
Mr Tidbury said the community had embraced the site, which was the sole testing facility north of Epping in the City of Whittlesea.
He said DPV Health would expand testing in the northern end of the municipality with mobile testing in the township of Whittlesea on Wednesday and Thursday.
The temporary testing site will be at AF Walker Recreation Reserve on Laurel Street, outside the reserve’s tennis courts.
The site will accept drive-through and walk-up tests with no need for a booking or referral, and will be open between 9.30am and 2pm on both days.
“Supporting our community to easily access COVID-19 testing during the pandemic has been our first priority,” Mr Tidbury said.
“Anyone with even the mildest symptoms should get tested. Adults and children can be tested at DVP Health sites with wait times having reduced over the last week.”
In a social media post on Sunday, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green described Whittlesea’s rise in case numbers as ‘very concerning’.
Ms Green noted Whittlesea’s total number of cases had nearly doubled in the span of a week.
She also reminded residents that wearing a face mask or covering would be mandatory from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Last week a total of 19 cases had been linked to an outbreak at Northern Health.
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton announced the new restriction for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on Sunday, saying face coverings would help slow the spread of the virus.
“The best way you can help keep community transmission low is by sticking to the coronavirus restrictions, keeping your distance and wearing a face covering whenever you leave home,” he said.
“By covering my face, I’m helping to keep you safe – and by covering your face, you’re helping to keep every Victorian safe.”
Mr Tidbury thanked frontline health workers for ensuring Whittlesea residents were able to be tested.
“I would like to extend our great appreciation to DPV Health’s COVID warriors: our doctors, nurses and administration teams for their great work,” he said.
“This important public health initiative would also not of been possible without the tremendous efforts of our partners, the Australian Defence Force, City of Whittlesea and the Department of Health and Human Services who have worked so hard to make the Mernda clinic a reality.”