COVID testing site wait times expected to ease, ten minute wait at Garran | The Canberra Times

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Long queues and backed up traffic continue at COVID testing sites across Canberra. However, testing numbers are expected to drop over the coming days as interstate travelers finalise arrangements. The ACT has recorded 85 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Wednesday, as daily numbers continue to break records. The high demand came after sites at Mitchell and Garran were at capacity for most of Wednesday and Thursday. In a press conference of Thursday afternoon, Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry said Wednesday was the fourth highest testing day of the pandemic with 6966 tests completed. She said this was “an incredible achievement”. “I know wait times at testing centers will be fraying patients at this time, especially at a time when we are all emotionally exhausted,” Minister Berry said. “Even so I wanted to say thank you to everybody for your cooperation. As people’s interstate travel arrangements are being finalised, we are hopeful that we’ll be seeing an easing of the pressure on testing over the next couple of days.” ACT Policing has urged drivers to avoid the area around the Mitchell COVID-19 testing site, especially Dacre Street. People have been advised to use Flemington Road to enter Mitchell if they are not attending the testing site. Police are currently directing traffic in and out of the Mitchell testing centre and Gungahlin Cemetery to control the flow. An ACT Policing spokesperson said police officers out directing traffic “where necessary”. They said ACT Health was in charge of the site and ultimately responsible for the impact on traffic. Long wait times have continued for the fourth day running this week, as people flood to PCR testing sites across the territory amid the Omicron outbreak. ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith encouraged people to come back later in the day if queues were long. “It does become a safety issue for you and for other road users. And so while there are additional traffic controllers, and onsite signage has been increased. We just ask people to be considerate and to be careful of the safety and not queue on the roads around our testing sites,” she said. The minister said traffic was being controlled “in the interests of people’s safety”. Earlier Thursday morning, Minister Stephen-Smith said waiting times on the ACT Health website could change “quite significantly in a very quick period of time. She told ABC Radio this was “because people will look at the website and say ‘OK … I’ll pop down to Garran’ and everyone else has done the same thing”. “So the wait time that people experience who arrive Garran at that time is much longer than the wait time that people before them or in front of them might be going to experience,” Minister Stephen-Smith said. “It is something that we know, we see it in our walk-in centres and our emergency departments as well, when you try to estimate wait times on the basis of the number of people who are there at the time.” The Mitchell and Garran testing sites will remain open on Christmas Day during normal hours. Kambah will be open for a shortened period from 8am to 12pm, while the Nicholls and Narrabundah sites will close for the day. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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