By Mitchell Clarke
A Bunyip man holds serious concerns about the state of testing in Pakenham – after he received his Covid eight days later.
After displaying symptoms, Rob, who has asked for his surname not to be published, was tested at Monash Health’s Pakenham Health Clinic site on Thursday 25 June.
“From the start it was all a bit of a shambles,” he explained.
Rob arrived at the facility – which has now closed – and lined up for 45 minutes to register, before waiting in his car for a further two hours until he could be physically tested.
“It was obviously really busy and I understand that,” he said.
“The lady told me it’d be a four day turn around and I was thinking I’d get my results back on Monday (29 June).
“I rang them on Monday after receiving no results and they changed the story to say it was five business days, and told me I’d get them by Wednesday (1 July).
“I called again on Thursday morning and they said they were still processing them and told me to expect them by midnight.”
Two hours after the Gazette first published Rob’s story on Friday 3 July, he received a text message from Monash Health advising he had returned a negative result.
“I know they’ve had a lot of people through and I’ve really tried to see it from their perspective but as time went on, the frustration built and I was pretty annoyed,” he said.
Rob self isolated since the test and only left his house once to seek another test in Warragul on Friday morning.
“The whole experience at Warragul was so much more professional. They were pretty shocked by the whole thing,” he explained.
Rob, who works as a teacher, said he didn’t know if he was infectious when he was at school a day prior to developing symptoms.
“Who knows how it would’ve spread through our school community … it could have been disastrous,” he said.
“My concern is that the testing at Monash Health has been incompetent across the board. There could be hundreds of cases in Casey and Cardinia that we don’t know about.”
He said the prospect of unknown cases in the community was “concerning”, but even more concerning was the fact that his experience could deter others from getting tested.
“You can see why people would not want to be tested now,” he said.
“That might be the biggest issue – why would anyone want to be tested – only to sit in isolation for eight days, unable to work and potentially lose money.”
Rob was only forced to take two days off work, thanks to the school holiday period, but spent his birthday sitting at home waiting for a text that never came.
“I spent my birthday sitting in the lounge room waiting for results all day because they told me it would come. I literally spent my day reading and playing play station,” he laughed.
“It is what it is, I’m not feeling sorry for myself but my concern is the broader community and the impact it could have.
“This whole process has been pretty horrible.”
A Monash Health spokeswoman acknowledged the concerns of people and apologised for any delays and inconvenience.
“Monash Health is experiencing high demand for Covid-19 testing across our six screening clinics and have a team working 24 hours a day to process test results quickly and accurately. To assist we are also using an additional lab to process results,” the spokeswoman said.
“While the expected turnaround times for results is typically between the same day to 48 hours, the surge in testing has increased this to five business days from the time of test to the confirmation of the result.”