Huge lines at Lismore hospital COVID testing clinic
People on the Northern Rivers are turning out in large numbers for COVID-19 testing, with reports of long lines at Lismore Base Hospital today.
Those in the queue have been told it could be "hours" until they can be tested.
Security guards are on patrol at the clinic, as people wait impatiently for the line to move.
There are only two COVID-19 testing clinics open on weekends on the Northern Rivers ‒ one at Lismore Base Hospital, which is open until 6pm, and the other at Byron Central Hospital, open until 5pm.
Other clinics in the region operate on weekdays.
According to reports on social media, people have walked away from long queues and others have been turned away at closing time, prompting calls for more clinics to be opened up.
Despite the wait times, it is good news for the region ‒ health authorities have been urging people to come forward for testing, even if symptoms are mild.
Northern NSW Local Health District's acting chief executive, Lynne Weir, last week said local testing had been high, but encouraged even more people to come forward.
"Byron Shire has had the highest testing rate per 1000 population among the 12 Local Government Areas along the NSW north coast for the past three weeks, and for testing overall during 2020," she said.
"In addition to local residents being tested, there has been a high level of testing among visitors to the north coast since mid-December.
"Anyone with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, is asked to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result."
To find your nearest clinic, visit the website.