The recently-established drive-through COVID-19 testing service at the old Clancy Motors site in Howick Street is set to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Adrian Fahy, of the Western NSW Local Health District, said that while some traffic and parking disruption may be unavoidable during periods of peak testing, they would be managed as carefully as possible to maintain safety and traffic flow.
“We have had to locate the testing service off Mount Panorama because of the upcoming car racing season. We looked at a number of sites, but either they were not available to us, or didn’t offer the facilities or ease of access we need to run an effective, high volume testing service,” Mr Fahy said.
“We have worked with our partners in the Local Emergency Management Committee, including Bathurst Regional Council and Police, to set up the Howick Street location and make it as safe as possible.”
Inspector David Abercrombie, of Chifley Police District, said traffic management measures, including cordoning off some of the RSL car park, would be used to control access and flow of traffic to the site.
“When there’s likely to be a substantial increase in demand, these measures will be turned on and off as quickly as possible to minimise any disruption,” he said.
Bathurst Regional Council also advised it is aware of the concerns that have been raised by businesses, and is in discussions with NSW Health to address these issues where practical.
Mr Fahy said that the measures would be temporary and only used during times of peak demand.
“We regret any inconvenience this might cause to the community or to businesses, and we really appreciate the support the service has received since it relocate off Mount Panorama,” he said.
“We know that residents and businesses want to get back to normal but testing in large numbers is part of what is going to keep our community safe from COVID-19, and it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
Demand for testing at the site rapidly escalated at the end of last week, with a number of cases and possible transmission venues being identified in Bathurst.
“The drive through site was providing around 100 tests a day but this spiked on Friday with more than 600 tests performed. A further 1,000 tests were done at the site over the weekend,” Mr Fahy said.
“This is exactly the sort of response we need to see the community have when there is a COVID risk. We are all really grateful for the patience of those who came to be tested, and we’ve been able to learn from the experience.
“We now have measures in place, such as the early cordoning of the carpark area, which will help manage any future spikes more effectively.”
The drive through testing service is at 252 Howick Street, but accessed via the RSL car park entrance in Rankin Street. It is open 8am to 4pm, seven days a week.