Coasters passing out in COVID-19 test queues
GOLD Coast coronavirus testing clinics are so overstretched sick people are fainting in the heat, being turned away or giving up after waiting six hours or more, residents claim.
Currumbin resident Virginia Boniface waited from about 9am-4.30pm to be tested at Robina Hospital in "searing heat" on Tuesday after interacting with Sydney travellers.
She applauded staff who did their best in trying times, but said testing needed "fine tuning".
"None of us knew it would be that long," she said. "There was a few who fainted, older people.
"I am quite sunburnt, but it could have been a lot worse. There was a pharmacy nearby so we ended up with a litre of sunblock. I actually had an umbrella in the car and we bought some Gatorade because we were just so dehydrated.
"The staff were good and were bringing water. They were absolutely great."
Queensland Health disputes anyone has been turned away.
It comes after the State Government and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young urged Queenslanders to get tested if they are displaying even the most minor symptoms.
Various reports indicate clinics are straining under the pressure of a rapid increase in testing.
Dr Young has expressed concerns undiscovered cases may be active in the community after the Sydney Northern Beaches outbreak and the discovery of virus fragments in Coast sewage.
Queensland Health said on Monday 16,350 tests had been performed across the state in just four days - a giant increase of 66 per cent compared to earlier in the month.
A Bundall resident claimed people were turned away while trying to get tested at the Albert Waterways Community Centre at Broadbeach.
The concerned woman was under the impression the clinic had reached "capacity" on Monday and was not able to perform more tests.
"Queensland Health needs a kick up the bum. They say there's coronavirus in the sewage, people who are panicky have seen that," she said.
"I was down at Broadbeach Library yesterday and people were being turned away from testing (at Albert Waterways). This was only about 9.30am.
"The security guard at the end of the line was telling people they could only take 150 people and people were being turned away.
"I knew one who was turned away and she said it was ridiculous. I think it's incredulous.
"Anyone who can get in (for testing) is waiting so long."
Another woman contacted Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates after lining up for more than four hours to get tested at Robina Hospital on Monday.
She said there had been "people in line from Northern Beaches in NSW".
"Many people left because it was too long to wait in the heat, (with) no seat and no water … l feel this may contribute to more cases of people are not getting tested," she told Ms Bates.
"Apparently, one girl waited five hours in the heat yesterday (Monday), to be turned away and she came back again today (Tuesday)."
The woman wanted more testing clinics.
Lines at clinics, including Gold Coast University Hospital, stretched along streets and sick people used umbrellas to guard against the sun while waiting hours on Monday.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said: "To those who have come forward to get tested for COVID-19 we say thank you. You're playing an important role in protecting not only yourself, but your family, friends and community as well."
"Some fever clinics are currently experiencing high demand. Thank you for your patience and understanding and please remember to social distance while you wait," they said.
"Our focus is on testing people with symptoms as quickly as possible and we have increased our staffing.
"Staff are monitoring those in the line to ensure anyone who is sick, elderly or vulnerable are not waiting long, and staff are communicating with people to let them know approximate wait times.
"No one is turned away from being tested."
It's understood Queensland Health have been taking down the contact details of people unable to linger in line for hours to organise another time for testing.
In addition to fever clinics, people can get tested at private pathology providers with a GP referral.
Originally published as Coasters passing out, sunburnt in 'ridiculous' COVID-19 test queues