Rachel Trushell (pictured outside the Garran COVID-19 Testing Facility) is one of many Canberra nurses testing patients for COVID-19.

Rachel Trushell (pictured outside the Garran COVID-19 Testing Facility) is one of many Canberra nurses testing patients for COVID-19.

11 November 2020

Following a decline of COVID-19 testing numbers across the ACT, Canberrans are being reminded why the process is still so important.

Testing for COVID-19 is the only effective way of detecting COVID-19 in the community. Testing remains a critical tool in managing COVID-19 for early detection and response. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, should stay at home and get tested.

The sooner cases are identified, the earlier that contact tracing can be conducted, ensuring that any potential spread of the virus into the community is reduced. When there are no or few cases of COVID-19 in the ACT, we are in a better position to ease restrictions and support businesses and individuals as the community recovers from the pandemic.

Canberra nurse Rachel Trushell has been conducting COVID-19 tests since March and strongly encourages anyone in the community to get tested if they are exhibiting any symptoms.

“We need to start thinking about COVID-19, as a community. It is about creating a safe environment for all Canberrans,” Rachel said.

By getting tested, an individual is not only doing a good thing for their own wellbeing, but also doing a great thing for their families and loved ones and for the broader community. Testing saves lives, keeps businesses open and allows us to see friends and family.

COVID-19 symptoms can vary widely in different people, ranging from life-threatening pneumonia to a loss of smell. Many people report mild symptoms initially. That’s why it’s so important to get tested when you have symptoms – no matter how mild. There’s no way of knowing if you have COVID-19 unless you get tested.

“Recently, there has been an unfortunate decline in testing numbers,” Rachel said.

The COVID-19 test is quick and not very invasive, usually taking under a minute to complete. The nurse swabs the throat and then each nostril, using a less invasive process than was the case earlier in the year.

“A good result can now be achieved by only swabbing the nostril to a depth of 2-3cm,” Rachel said.

“You get a lot of surprised looks on patient’s faces after they realise how easy and quick the process is.”

Rachel said result response times had also improved, with most patients receiving results within one or two days of being tested.

“Some patients have even received their results as quickly as 12-14 hours after the test,” she said.

People who suffer from hay fever need an action plan to manage their symptoms during the pollen season and should seek additional advice from their GP about when they need to get tested for COVID-19.

As a nurse, Rachel is grateful for the opportunity to help people in need, especially those most vulnerable.

“This work has been so rewarding. When I speak to my grandchildren later in life, I will be able to tell them that I worked on the frontline during COVID-19,” Rachel said.

Rachel is just one of countless committed health professionals who have been working tirelessly to keep Canberra safe. The young nurse was due to get married at the start of the year, but her wedding plans were put on hold so she could help with ACT Health’s COVID-19 response.

Remember to get tested to protect yourself, your friends, your family and your community.

Please note that during peak periods there can be a longer wait time at the ACT Government’s testing sites. While we have processes in place to manage these peak periods, to avoid having to wait when demand is high, staff recommend visiting the testing clinics in the afternoon.

You can find more information on symptoms and getting tested at www.covid19.act.gov.au/testing

All Canberra

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