South Australia’s drive-through COVID-19 testing sites can now swab for 11 more viruses, including the flu, following a spike in winter infections.
SA Pathology has doubled the number of multi-virus tests it can process each day to 1000 but has the capacity to process more depending on the number of COVID-only tests in the system.
The multi-virus testing is geared towards at-risk groups to ensure they can get COVID-19 or flu treatments quickly, with GPs able to access results and consult with patients as soon as possible.
A doctor’s referral is required but can be provided through a telehealth appointment.
“Doubling our capacity for multiplex testing means more people at high-risk will be able to access testing in a drive-through setting in consultation with their GP,” Health Minister Chris Picton said on Friday.
The 12 viruses that can now be tested for are adenovirus, bordetella pertussis, influenza A, influenza B, human metapneumovirus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, parainfluenza 1, parainfluenza 2, parainfluenza 3, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19.
SA Pathology Clinical Service Director Sophia Otto said drive-through testing sites were essential in reducing the spread of COVID-19, by ensuring symptomatic people and close contacts could access results quickly.
“This approach will ensure there is ready access to multiplex testing in South Australia while also maintaining our current laboratory capacity for COVID-19 population testing,” she said.
SA’s daily COVID-19 infections have remained between 2000 and 3000 in recent days while the state has recorded 3692 flu cases so far this year, compared to just a handful at the same time last year.