Rapid antigen tests, QR codes, elderly care workers in spotlight as NSW registers 20,794 COVID-19 cases, Victoria registers 8,577 cases; The Australian Open on track

A private pathology provider has shut down all of its COVID-19 testing sites except one in New South Wales indefinitely as long delays continue for those seeking PCR testing across the state.

In a notice posted on its website, Australian Clinical Labs – which operates 20 drive-thru test sites, including in Charlestown, Windsor, Sydney Olympic Park, Parramatta, Liverpool and Hornsby – said 19 of the sites are “closed with immediate effect. until further notice ” .

Motorists line up at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinic in Penrith last week.Credit:Dean Sewell

The supplier’s nine drop-in collection centers in Ashfield, Blacktown, Campsie, Fairfield, Frenchs Forest, Harris Park, Manly, Narrabri and Windale are also closed until further notice. A drive-thru test center in Bella Vista remains open for international travel testing.

In a statement, Australian Clinical Labs said there had been “a well-documented increase in demand for PCR testing.”

“Clinical laboratories and the entire pathology industry have faced testing surges during the pandemic and we are working to ensure that we provide peak capacity for laboratory testing and treatment,” said a spokesperson.

“The pathology staff are working around the clock. This is an unprecedented situation and we and the rest of the industry are doing everything we can to meet the demand and needs of the community. Staff across the industry work 24/7.

Leisel Wett, CEO of Australian Pathology – the leading body for private pathology providers – said the system is under “immense pressure” and pathology staff have had their leave canceled to work on a backlog of tests.

“The labs for COVID-19 testing have been operating 24/7 for almost 2 years now, and the staff are doing their best to take all the tests and get the results,” Ms. Wett said.

“We ask everyone to be patient and to work with us and the state and territory departments of health to meet the needs of symptomatic or close contact Australians who require PCR testing.”

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