Fairfield testing clinics in 'chaos' after change in COVID rules

The long lines at Fairfield Showground.
The long lines at Fairfield Showground.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone has a message for NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian: "You have done our city a disservice."

It comes after "chaos" at Fairfield's COVID-19 testing clinics on Tuesday evening following the new public health order that requires Fairfield residents who work in other LGAs to be tested for COVID-19 every three days, even if they do not have symptoms.

The order, which is to commence at 12.01am on July 14, is aimed at identifying undetected chains of transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 and preventing its spread to other communities.

The order was later updated to include a time-limited exemption so that from July 14 to 16, workers from Fairfield LGA can continue to work in other LGAs if they have not been tested, however they must take reasonable steps to do so prior to July 17.

But not before thousands of workers queued at COVID-19 testing stations across Fairfield.

Mr Carbone said he had been notified that some residents that were genuinely sick left the lines after one and half hours and returned home.

"We support more testing, but only with the right resources," he said.

"Congratulations Gladys, you have done our city a disservice and just stopped any person that doesn't work outside the area, who genuinely has symptoms and needs a test, from getting tested.

"Our testing clinics are in chaos and panic tonight and this cannot go on for days without the proper resources.

"This announcement without any consultation treated our community with disrespect, without the resources to cater for tens of thousand of tests and this will occur every night this week unless more clinics are opened.

"Your monumental stuff up in letting the virus free in the community for over four weeks since the limo driver caught the virus in the inner city, has meant that now Fairfield residents are bearing the brunt of the virus, financially and mentally."

The rush of the more than 40,000 people that work outside the area forced police to turn away people from the Fairfield Showground testing site due to the overcrowding and the danger posed on Smithfield Road. The Endeavour Reserve testing clinic blocked all of The Boulevard, Avenell Street and every other road leading into the park for kilometres, crossing over into Hamilton Road.

Mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing for Fairfield workers (from NSW Health)

  • Given the high number of COVID-19 cases and exposure venues in the Fairfield Local Government Area (LGA), Fairfield residents who work in other LGAs must now be tested for COVID-19 every three days, even if they do not have symptoms.
  • Asymptomatic workers who are tested as part of this new surveillance testing requirement do not need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result. However, if symptoms develop at any time, they should get re-tested immediately, and isolate until a negative result is received.
  • Anyone with even the mildest of symptoms needs to stay away from work, get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
  • The same applies to people who have been directed to get tested due to their risk of exposure to COVID-19 through close-contact venues or their own close social contacts.
  • From July 14-16, workers from Fairfield LGA can continue to work in other LGAs if they have not been tested, however they must take reasonable steps to do so prior to 17 July. From July 17, a worker must be tested every 72 hours to continue working outside Fairfield LGA.
  • Workers must provide evidence of the test upon request by their employer or a police officer.
  • Workers do not need to have received a negative COVID-19 result before attending work - they need only to have been tested within the past 72 hours. If a positive test result is received, the worker will need to self-isolate immediately, in line with a public health order and the usual COVID advice.
  • The occupier of non-residential premises who have workers from Fairfield LGA on their premises must ensure that the worker can show they have been tested up to 72 hours prior to attending work. This applies to all people working at the premises (including employees, contractors and other service providers).
  • The worker must have proof of a test within the past three days available for inspection via text message, email or other form of evidence provided by a testing service or laboratory - if this is not supplied, premises owners must not permit a person who lives in the City of Fairfield LGA to work on their premises.
  • The testing requirement is only for people who live in the Fairfield LGA leaving for work in other LGAs, not people from other LGAs who enter Fairfield LGA for work purposes.

COVID-19 testing sites in Fairfield:

  • Fairfield Histopath Pathology Drive-through Clinic, Fairfield RSL carpark, Monday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm.
  • Fairfield West Laverty Pathology Pop-up Drive-through Clinic, Endeavor Sports Park, 24/7, seven days.
  • Smithfield Douglass Hanly Moir Drive-through Clinic, Brenan Park, Smithfield 6am to 10pm, seven days.
  • Smithfield Drive-through clinic, Long Street Park, 8am to 7pm, seven days.
  • Fairfield Showground SydPath drive-through Clinic, 443 Smithfield Road, Prairiewood seven-days-a-week, 6.30am to 10pm.
  • Wetherill Park 4Cyte Drive-through Clinic, 22-30 Mansfield Street, 8am to 8pm (except Saturday).
  • Bossley Park Laverty Pathology Drive-through clinic, Club Marconi, 8.30am to 6pm, seven days.
This story 'Monumental stuff up': Testing clinics in 'chaos' after change in rules first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.