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Rapid test demand ‘extremely high’; swab sites under pressure

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Greater Geelong recorded 63 new Covid-19 cases, as of Monday, with 12 new cases recorded in the Surf Coast.A further two cases were recorded in the Borough of Queenscliffe and four were recorded in the Colac-Otway ShireQueues at local testing sites were long by early morning, with the Torquay site closed after reaching capacity limits by 8.30am on Monday. Barwon Health spokeswoman Kate Bibby said there was an increase in people seeking Covid-19 testing during the holiday period, with Barwon Health testing around 1200 people on Boxing Day. “We urge anyone with symptoms to get tested. Barwon Health North is prioritising people who have symptoms,” she said. As of 9am Monday, there were 18 patients in Geelong hospital with Covid-19, including seven in ICU. The average age of these patients is 52. There were no coronavirus related deaths recorded at Geelong hospital overnight on Sunday. Community Care Chemist chief executive officer Nick Salkeld said demand for at home Rapid Antigen Tests was “extremely high” as residents scrambled to self-test ahead of social gatherings. “Stock is currently limited with further bulk orders due in pharmacies from mid this week,” he said.“Anecdotally, feedback from some patients (is that) attendance at holiday gatherings predicated on a negative RAT.“One in two inquiries to pharmacies for the past week have centred around booking Covax boosters, (following) the recent changes in timing for dosing – or the availability of RATs.” Across the state, 1999 new infections and three Covid-19 related deaths were announced on Monday.Currently, 368 people are hospitalised with 80 of those in intensive care and 38 on ventilators. A total of 57,818 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours. There are now 16,467 reported active cases within the community. It comes after 1608 new cases and two deaths were recorded on Boxing Day, which decreased from 2108 cases and six deaths on Christmas. Ms Bibby said the Community Vaccination Hub at Norlane would open from December 29 to January 31 for vaccine appointments, including boosters. “We urge anyone who had their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine more than four monthsto book in their booster as soon as possible,” she said. Stay Informed Geelong Advertiser



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