Australia

State faces 12-hour queues for tests

SA residents have been forced to wait up to 12 hours for a Covid-19 test. Picture: Sarah Reed

Some South Australians have been forced to wait up to 12 hours for a Covid-19 test as hundreds of people flock to testing sites.

Footage from a number of locations across metropolitan Adelaide have shown queuing vehicles stretching kilometres from the testing locations as the number of exposure sites continues to grow.

One man, who asked not to be named, said he was aware his local testing clinic in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs had long wait times, so he decided to drive to the Tailem Bend site because it was open 24 hours and he couldn’t be turned away.

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He first queued at 4pm on Wednesday and waited until 4am the following morning to get his test.

The man said it was fortunate that the testing facility was next to a service station so he and the hundreds of other people lining up could purchase coffee and food and use the bathroom facilities.

He said waiting 12 hours to be tested was “unacceptable” and believed testing clinics were understaffed.

“A lot of people were there from earlier in the day and we saw a car get pushed past because it broke down and people were running out of petrol,” he told NCA NewsWire.

“I don’t think (authorities) had the correct parameters in place to prepare for anything like this.

“All testing sites should be open 24 hours. Especially, with the (listed) exposure sites being big sites, like schools and shopping centres, and the fact so many people are being directed to be tested.”

Residents have been forced to wait for long periods of time, some queuing for 12 hours, to get tested. Picture: Sarah Reed
Residents have been forced to wait for long periods of time, some queuing for 12 hours, to get tested. Picture: Sarah Reed

Premier Steven Marshall yesterday thanked all South Australians who waited in those testing lines for doing “the right thing”.

He said SA Pathology quickly “flexed” their staff on the front line and in the laboratory, which can now process 18,000 samples a day, and said additional testing places will be stood up across the state.

Mr Marshall reminded residents there were 86 testing sites across the state and urged people to visit testing sites that were closer to their homes and not all flock to the Victoria Park site in the CBD.

The premier said people who needed priority testing, who had been identified by SA Health, had different arrangements and were not lining up for hours.

He said resources were being diverted to try keep up with the demand.

Primer Steven Marshall said resources were being diverted to try keep up with the demand. Picture: Emma Brasier
Primer Steven Marshall said resources were being diverted to try keep up with the demand. Picture: Emma Brasier

“We will be doing everything we can, pulling every single lever to increase that supply,” Mr Marshall said.

“For example, some of our blood collection centres across SA will be closed or downscaled so we can divert those resources to this front line swabbing.

“We’re trying to open up more sites, extend hours and provide more services so we can get as many people through as we possibly can.”

He also announced defence force doctors and nurses would be deployed to testing clinics across the state to try decrease the long wait times.

The number of exposure sites continues to increase, including the Modbury Centrelink office.

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