12 July 2020

UPDATED: Fifth COVID-19 case recorded in the ACT as Garran pop-up becomes testing site

| Dominic Giannini
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Pop-up ED on Garran Oval

The pop-up ED on Garran Oval will now be used as a testing centre for COVID-19 as demand surges. Photo: Region Media.

UPDATED 3:30 pm, 10 July: One new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the ACT, bringing the total number of active cases to five.

Visitor restrictions for public hospitals and other Canberra Health Services’ public facilities in the ACT will also go back to one visitor per patient per day from next week.

The latest case is a woman in her 20s. She is linked to the previous cases who arrived in the ACT from Victoria before the travel ban was put in place and also attended Westfield Belconnen on Monday, 6 July between 12:00 pm and 12:30 pm with the previous cases.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the risk to the broader community was low, however anyone who attended this location during this time should continue to be vigilant and monitor themselves for symptoms.

The announcement comes as ACT Health confirmed that the pop-up emergency department (ED) at Garran Oval will become a new COVID-19 testing site after demand surged following the outbreak in Victoria and confirmation of the Territory’s first positive cases in over a month.

More than 1,200 tests were conducted yesterday (9 July) across the EPIC drive-through centre and Weston Creek.

The pop-up ED will conduct both drive-through testing from 13 July and walk-in testing from 11 July and operate between 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.

From Monday 13 July, the West Belconnen Child and Family centre will also operate as a walk-in testing clinic between 9.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday and Friday.

An announcement on another drive-through facility in south Canberra is expected early next week.

Garran residents were alerted to the plans overnight and ACT Health is continuing to work with the local Garran Primary School about the conversion, despite it still being school holidays until the end of next week, ACT Health said. A detailed traffic plan for the site will be released later today (10 July).

“We expect this increase in numbers will continue as people are encouraged to get tested,” ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said yesterday.

“We know this increase in testing has led to lengthy wait times at some of the Respiratory Assessment Clinics and we apologise for the inconvenience and thank people for their patience.

“We are also increasing capacity for ACT Pathology to provide people with their testing results as quickly as possible.”

There have been more than 34,600 negative tests in the ACT since the pandemic began.

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No resident in Garran that I know of heard about this on Thursday night. We found out about this when everyone else did. Also the link to the traffic management plan for Garran on the Covid website doesn’t work.

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