South West Healthcare nurses test hundreds of abattoir workers

Nurses at the coronavirus testing station at South West Healthcare in May. Picture: Anthony Brady
Nurses at the coronavirus testing station at South West Healthcare in May. Picture: Anthony Brady

A south west Victorian abattoir has been applauded for their foresight in getting over 1000 workers tested as a precaution after a contractor who visited the facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Midfield Meats at Warrnambool tested it's entire staff on Monday and re-opened on Thursday morning.

Behind the mammoth testing blitz was a dedicated team of 12 South West Healthcare nurses who worked for over seven hours to screen close to 860 of the abattoir's staff.

Hospital chief executive Craig Fraser said it was a "remarkable" team effort from their nurses.

"I'd like to commend Midfields' very proactive and professional response to the pandemic in which it impressively implemented systems back in March to ensure it was well prepared for such an occasion as we've seen in recent days," he said.

"The threat of COVID-19 on any community's doorstep demands not only rapid response but good practices to give all of us the best opportunity to limit its spread, both individually and from a business perspective."

The hospital has seen an increase in people attending its clinic to get tested, with nearly 400 people presenting to get tested.

"We continue to run our appointment-only clinic for people who have, in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation, symptoms such as fever or chills or infection such as a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or a runny nose," Mr Fraser said.

"We often see fluctuations in demand and in recent days demand has increased but our RAC nurses are doing a wonderful job managing the steady flow of people requiring symptomatic testing."

Great South Coast Respiratory Clinic manager said they had seen an increased request for asymptomatic screening in the community off the back of the rising cases in the region.

"We have been instructed by DHHS that we must screen symptomatic clients only," she said.

"We had 56 on Monday and 45 on Tuesday and the clinic is open four hours a day, not a full day."

This story 'Remarkable': nurses behind abattoir testing blitz praised for service first appeared on The Standard.