February 3, 2022

Farewell Craigieburn COVID-19 testing site!

Our COVID-19 testing site at Craigieburn Centre has come to a close.

The testing site was established back in July 2020, during the second COVID-19 wave in Victoria.

Since then, the site has processed over 150,000 tests – an incredible feat.

Debra Bourne, Acting Chief Operating Officer expressed her appreciation for the wonderful work of staff.

“Northern Health has been extremely proud of the role this team provided in responding to COVID-19. It was, at times, extremely challenging for all staff in this testing site – working outside in a tent in full PPE in both times of high demand and difficult weather, we acknowledge was not easy at times. Our thanks and appreciation is extended to all staff involved in this testing site,” Debra said.

Elisha O’Dowd, Nurse Unit Manager – Infection Prevention & Surveillance and COVID-19 Testing Sites and Screening, said facilitating the site during this time has been a major collaborative effort involving a number of stakeholders.

“From Craigieburn Centre management team and staff dedicating majority of their onsite parking and internal break spaces to support the project, to Pathology working around the clock to provide results to our consumers; Traffic Control and Security working tirelessly to keep the site safe and running smoothly; Health Information Services, Nursing Workforce, agency partners and Department of Health alternative staff for providing clerical and nursing staff for the site; cleaners, couriers, and so many more. It is a team effort!” Elisha said.

Described as “the little-site-that-could”, the Craigieburn testing site rivalled some of the larger sites in the area.

“Despite its small size, Craigieburn was one of the busiest sites in the region. During a local outbreak last year, Craigieburn saw its busiest day on record, swabbing 783 patients on 30 May 2021. This is more than one swab per minute – an extraordinary effort by all involved,” Elisha said.

Despite many challenges including local outbreaks, increased demand and extreme weather, the team at Craigieburn literally and figuratively weathered many storms, showcasing their dedication to continue for our community even during the most challenging times.

“I would just like to say a huge thank you to all the staff involved at the Craigieburn testing site. They have worked through the heat, cold and wind to deliver a high quality and much-needed service to our community,” Elisha expressed.

“The staff have always been so resilient in the face of constant change and uncertainty. They have truly shown the Northern Health values of safe, kind and together.”

Northern Health’s testing site at NCHER remains open to staff and the community.