June 30, 2022

The end of an era: Goodbye COVID-19 testing site

After two years of swabbing for COVID-19, our testing site at Northern Hospital’s Northern Centre for Health Education & Research (NCHER) has officially closed.

Since the pandemic began, we have been extremely impressed with our staff and proud of their dedication to caring for the community – even during challenging times.

Rain, hail or shine, our staff on the frontline donned their PPE each day, facilitating the testing of almost 300,000 community members in total.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Lisa Cox, expressed her appreciation for our staff during this time.

“I would like to thank all staff – nursing, administration, security and traffic management for providing such an invaluable community service to Northern Health staff, patients and the general community,” she said.

Previously named the ‘Fever Clinic’, the COVID-19 testing site at Northern Hospital Epping was first established in March 2020, operating next to DPV Health. Shortly after, the service was developed into a drive-through testing site at NCHER.

“This was Northern Health’s longest serving COVID-19 testing site, commencing in July 2020 and testing many Victorians and interstate travellers throughout its operations.”

Lisa commended the team on their rapid response during peak times.

“The ability to surge during local outbreaks and various COVID-19 waves was highly impressive. The NCHER COVID-19 testing site was one of the superior services in terms of queue management and timely results for our staff and community.”

At some of our busiest times, our combined sites tested over 1,100 community members in one day alone.

“After having the Northern Health testing sites in operation for two years, it seems strange to decommission the service,” Lisa added.

Madelaine Flynn, Director of Operations, Infection Prevention, said the testing site has been invaluable to the community.

“The staff have worked incredibly hard in all seasons and with large influxes of patient numbers!”

Thank you to every single staff member who worked at the testing site over the last two years. You have played such an important role in protecting our community and we are so grateful.