TEST READY: Nurse unit manager Leanne McNab, Dr Michelle Fraser, administration officer Emily McIntyre and registered nurse Lorna Stewart in the newly openedo Bowen COVID-19 Testing Centre.
TEST READY: Nurse unit manager Leanne McNab, Dr Michelle Fraser, administration officer Emily McIntyre and registered nurse Lorna Stewart in the newly openedo Bowen COVID-19 Testing Centre.

Doors open on Bowen’s coronavirus testing clinic

WALLS have gone up and the door has opened to a new coronavirus testing facility in Bowen that will allow residents to be safely tested for the virus and keep valuable health resources where they are needed most.

Mining giant BHP last month announced that testing clinics would be opened in Bowen and Moranbah under the company's Vital Resources Fund.

Operated by Vanguard Health, the Bowen testing clinic officially opened its doors to the public today.

Located next to Bowen Bowls Club, the clinic will operate seven days a week subject to demand, from 10am to 6pm.

The testing centre is planned to operate for six months in duration, with the possibility of extension if needed.

The clinic will be run on an appointment basis and will be operated by a multidisciplinary team of medical experts including a doctor, registered nurses and admin team.

Administration officer Emily McIntyre, registered nurse Lorna Stewart, Dr Michelle Fraser and nurse unit manager Leanne McNab out front of the Bowen COVID-19 Testing Centre.
Administration officer Emily McIntyre, registered nurse Lorna Stewart, Dr Michelle Fraser and nurse unit manager Leanne McNab out front of the Bowen COVID-19 Testing Centre.

Vanguard Health CEO Tim Gallagher said the testing clinic would help the health of central and North Queensland by providing an additional testing capability to help minimise the spread of COVID-19 if a case was to be confirmed.

"By providing immediate testing and isolation advice, these centres will keep community members who may be infectious away from other hospitals and health centres," he said.

"The testing centre in Bowen will ensure we are filling the gap, rather than duplicating services.

 

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"Vanguard Health is working closely with existing health service providers in the region - including the Mackay Hospital and Health Service, primary health network, general practitioners and pathology services - to ensure that testing services complement and integrate with local health services."

Mr Gallagher said the testing clinic would be available for use at no cost to residents who have been identified as eligible under the latest COVID-19 guidelines.

Registered nurse Lorna Stewart decked out and ready to test someone
Registered nurse Lorna Stewart decked out and ready to test someone

He said to help obey health guidelines surrounding COVID-19 and to ration "valuable test kit resources", the service would operate using a booking system only, with no "walk in" testing conducted.

Residents can book a test at the clinic by phoning 1800 980 574 or going online here.

Mr Gallagher thanked BHP for their contribution to establishing and supporting the clinic.

"A key success of the Australian and State Government's response to COVID-19 has been the widespread testing and contact tracing measures introduced," he said.

"BHP are determined to play their part to support Central and North Queensland in this challenging time and have committed to funding regional COVID-19 testing centres, delivered by our Health Partner, Vanguard Health, in Moranbah and Bowen.

"They have committed $7.59 million funding as part of the BHP Vital Resources Fund (and) hope to help to minimise the spread of COVID-19 across the community and provide a capability to support local business and community readiness as public health restrictions are gradually lifted."


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