STAY SAFE: Cars line up outside the Warwick drive-through testing site on Friday.
STAY SAFE: Cars line up outside the Warwick drive-through testing site on Friday.

Spike in COVID-19 testing amid wastewater results, lockdown

COVID-19 testing spiked across the Southern Downs on Friday as residents responded to heath experts and the premier’s push to contain the virus.

Daily testing numbers across the Darling Downs Health region, which includes Warwick and Stanthorpe, jumped to 433 people from January 7 to 8.

While numbers continue to increase daily, the previous rate had averaged about 245 earlier this week.

The number of Darling Downs residents tested since the beginning of testing is 62,066.

Despite that, a Darling Downs Health spokeswoman said there were only negative outcomes to report from testing.

“We have no new cases in the Southern Downs, and all of the Darling Downs Health region and no contact tracing alerts,” she said.

It comes as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Greater Brisbane will go into a three-day lockdown after authorities scramble to contain the spread of the mutant UK COVID-19 strain.

Southern Downs residents who visited Brisbane since January 2 and have now moved on to other parts of the state will also be required to quarantine for the next three days.

In response, DDHS will continue to reinstall testing sites across the region.

“COVID-19 testing has been, and continues to be, available at any of our hospital emergency departments, and at our Charlton BP Truckstop drive-through testing site, open 8.30am to 4pm seven days a week,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have also re-established our Baillie Henderson Hospital pop-up drive-through testing site, which will be open from 8.30am to 4pm until Monday, 11 January.”

In Warwick, an additional Locke St drive-through site was opened earlier this week as was one in front of the Stanthorpe Hospital in response to positive wastewater fragments.

At the time of reporting, there had been no further information revealed about where the positive wastewater fragment originated from.

Those experiencing long lines were also encouraged to wait it out.
“Our testing locations can be busy, so please be patient,” the DDHS spokeswoman said.

“Waiting times at testing locations can vary so please be prepared to wait and bring your Medicare card and other items you may need (for example, your mobile phone, phone charger, medications you may need to take while waiting, food and water, hat and sunscreen).”

For more information about testing sites, please visit www.health.qld.gov.au/darlingdowns or phone the Darling Downs Health COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 468.