The Townsville Mayor is pleading for more COVID-19 testing infrastructure in her community to tackle the massive demand after a person with the highly-contagious Delta variant visited the community.
- Fever clinics have been overwhelmed with locals wanting to be tested
- The Townsville mayor is calling for Queensland Health to ramp up facilities
- Health minister Yvette D’Ath says testing hours have been extended
Lines for testing stretch between 5 and 6 kilometres in the city as people wait hours to be tested.
Yesterday police said Harvey Range Road and Golf Links Drive at Kirwan were blocked, urging anyone not queuing up for a test to avoid the area entirely.
Senior Sergeant Jason Brosnan said there was a seven-hour wait and pleaded with people to only come forward for testing if they had been to an exposure site or were experiencing symptoms.
“There is quite an amount of traffic already this morning and they have only just opened,” he said.
“The advice we are getting from Queensland Health is to remain at home rather than spend the next 10 to 12 hours in a queue and be turned away potentially.”
Townsville Mayor Councillor Jenny Hill said she would like to see more help from Queensland Health to cope with demand.
“The hospital is placing a testing facility specifically on Magnetic Island for all the residents there … so they will be I believe, a priority in terms of testing,” she said.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told ABC Radio Brisbane this morning that it has extended the hours for testing.
“And we’ve added extra lines to the drive-through there at the stadium,” she said.
“We will be making sure that we’re keeping those vaccination centres open as long as we can — we’ve got more coming online.”
She said there was only about 14-15 days worth of the Pfizer vaccine available.
“So we can fast-track that but it will run out and we’ve also got to make sure we have enough now to do the second vaccinations,” she said.
There are currently fever clinics established on Magnetic Island, in Townsville and Palm Island.
The positive health worker spent several days in the community as part of a family trip.
She landed in Townsville on Thursday and caught a barge to Magnetic Island, where she stayed three days, before returning to the mainland on Sunday and visited the Flinders Street markets.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young have both confirmed the brother of the hospital worker has now also tested positive to COVID-19.
“I can confirm that yes, and both of them came up to Magnetic Island with their family,” Dr Young told ABC Radio Tropical North.
“I can also confirm that the risk for Townsville is a little bit less because that family, when they visited Magnetic Island arrived via the car barge and they didn’t enter the Townsville SeaLink terminal or leave their car until they arrived on the Island.
“I know the people on Palm were a bit concerned about that possible terminal because they also use that same terminal so that’s not a risk.
“At the moment all of her other household members have tested negative which is really good because it’s more than three days since they were up in Townsville.”
Yesterday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was “furious” the receptionist was not vaccinated.
Ms Hill said she and her constituents echoed that sentiment.
“Now we’ve got to try and deal with it.
“Hopefully the three-day lockdown will mean that we will be able to contain any spread of the contagion and life will get back to normal early next week.”