Vicki Cheney at the drive-through testing clinic in Bellingen. In the absence of government funding, the independent clinic has been jointly set up by doctors and nurses across the Bellingen Shire.
Vicki Cheney at the drive-through testing clinic in Bellingen. In the absence of government funding, the independent clinic has been jointly set up by doctors and nurses across the Bellingen Shire. Matt Deans

Doctors, nurses unite in Shire to open drive-through clinic

SURGERIES, doctors and nurses across the Bellingen Shire have united in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in the absence of government funding, have opened up an independent drive-through testing clinic.

The clinic which has been in operation at the former Bellorana Aged Care Facility for the past week provides a single point for the assessment and testing for anyone in the Bellingen Shire who thinks they may have a COVID-19 infection.

This includes those living in Dorrigo, Urunga, Thora, Kalang, Raleigh, and others.

Bellingen reported its first case of coronavirus in NSW Health data published on Saturday evening.

According to Bellingen Shire Council, the new drive-through clinic is bulk-billed to Medicare so there are no out of pocket expenses, however you will only be tested for coronavirus if you have travelled overseas in the last two weeks and have a fever or flu-like symptoms, if you've been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus and have symptoms, or if you are a healthcare or aged care worker and have symptoms.

No appointments are necessary.

If you attend the clinic, you must enter the driveway and stay in the car, where you will be met by a staff member who will record your details.

You'll then proceed along the driveway and will be seen by a nurse or doctor.

Testing involves a swab from the back of the throat and nose, with a result sent to your GP in three to six days.

If tested, you must remain in isolation until the result is back.

Those without a car must enter the driveway by foot and will be assisted to a separate seating area.

The clinic is open from Monday-Saturday, from midday to 2pm.

There is also currently a Fever Clinic established at Coffs Harbour Hospital.



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