300 per cent spike: Chaos in Qld as virus panic sets in

 

A 300 per cent spike in COVID-19 testing sparked hours-long waits and traffic jams at clinics on Brisbane's southside in extraordinary scenes as Queensland desperately attempts to avoid a second wave of the virus.

One woman was forced to wait so long at the Parkside school clinic on Thursday she passed out and had to be seen by paramedics, while waits of up to six hours were reported at Brisbane clinics as well as huge lines on the Sunshine Coast.

According to Queensland Health data late on Thursday, 6866 tests were conducted across the state in 24 hours.

Logan grandmother Judy Pokoj waited in the testing queue on the footpath outside Parklands Christian College for three hours on Thursday before she collapsed and was taken away in an ambulance.

Cars line up while drivers wait for testing at a COVID-19 fever clinic.
Cars line up while drivers wait for testing at a COVID-19 fever clinic.

"She was waiting by herself and she gave me a ring to see if I could bring her a bottle of water because she was feeling unwell, and by the time I got there she was being looked after by the paramedics," son Darren Pokoj said.

Wait times at the school occasionally exceeded six hours on Thursday, while traffic queued up for 1km outside Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Taringa, with police called in to direct traffic.

Logan resident Elijah Buol unsuccessfully tried on Wednesday to get tests for his wife and four children, who attend Parklands Christian College at Park Ridge, but ran out of time.

Mr Buol took his four children and his wife back to the school for testing at the centre just after 8am on Thursday and were still waiting at 2.30pm.

The Australian of the Year Queensland Local Hero in 2018 said he was not overly concerned about the health of his children, who are in Years 5, 3, 2 and prep at the Christian college.

Metro South Health conducted 979 tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from about 250 tests the day before.

People lined up at the Brown Plains community health centre. Picture: John Gass
People lined up at the Brown Plains community health centre. Picture: John Gass

Thursday's testing numbers in Metro South are expected to double that of Wednesday.

North of Brisbane, two-hour wait times at the Caloundra drive-through fever clinic saw cars abandon the queue.

People experienced wait times of up to 90 minutes at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and up to 60-minute waits at QML in Chermside.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said testing capacity has been expanded and would continue to be rolled out. An additional testing clinic has been established at Logan Hospital along with a pop-up clinic at the Browns Plains Community Centre.

A line-up of more than 50 cars outside Logan Hospital's carpark on Thursday morning was no deterrent to those who walked in and waited in a line starting as early as 6.30am.

More than 400 tests were conducted at the hospital on Thursday with expectations of at least double that on Friday.

At Springfield, a line-up of dozens of cars outside the Orion Shopping Centre was still growing at midday.

A testing clinic set up at Orion Springfield Central Shopping Centre. Picture: John Gass/NewsWire
A testing clinic set up at Orion Springfield Central Shopping Centre. Picture: John Gass/NewsWire

QEII Hospital, the second-largest on the southside, was forced to close its 5B ward, used to accommodate those waiting for test results, late yesterday.

A line of an estimated 100 people waited before the hospital's centre opened at 8am.

"I know some of the pop-up clinics have been really busy, and some people have had to wait to be tested, and I thank you for your patience," Dr Young said.

"What you are doing is very important."

Dr Young said that because one of Thursday's confirmed cases did not immediately provide details of where they had been or who they had close contact with, Queenslanders with any symptoms at all should self-isolate and to get tested.

"You do not have to get tested at your closest pop-up clinic - if you have symptoms, you can get tested at any of them. You can also call your GP and arrange a test through them," she said.

 

Originally published as 300% spike: Woman collapses after huge wait for test


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