A Melbourne doctor has labelled Victoria’s coronavirus spike “worrying” as more people begin to heed warnings to get tested for the highly contagious virus.
But doctor Mukesh Haikerwal told Today he feared GPs were being “ignored and neglected” in the testing process.
Across the state, 49 new COVID-19 cases were recorded yesterday, an increase of eight on Saturday’s figures and the highest daily total since April 2.Doctor Mukesh Haikerwal told Today he feared GPs were being “ignored and neglected” in the testing process. (Nine)People line up at a pop-up testing facility, during a COVID-19 testing blitz in the suburb of Broadmeadows on June 28, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)
Just four of the new cases have been linked to known outbreaks, with the source of infection still under investigation in the remaining 45.
“I think we’re seeing more cases coming through for testing now than we did at the beginning of the crisis here in Victoria, anyway,” Dr Haikerwal told Today.
“Obviously, people are very worried. Compared to the rest of the world it is a really a blip.
“We’ve only got a few hundred across the country, other people have got hundreds of deaths a day but nonetheless people are worried.”
The worst-hit suburbs in Melbourne. (Nine)
Dr Haikerwal, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, now works in a facility that offers a “full clinical service” which has seen a sharp increase in people coming forward to be checked.
“We’re set up to do about 80 [per day]. We’re up to 95 a day now. We’re expected to do over 120. We’re not a drive through, just do a test and go clinic.”
Despite Australia’s numbers being low compared to the rest of the world Dr Haikerwal fears for those working at the front of the pandemic.
“We are at a very low level compared to the world but for Victoria, for Australia, we’ve seen a massive increase in numbers that, quite rightly, has caused not panic but a concerted response.
A healthcare worker conducts a COVID-19 test at a Coronavirus pop-up testing facility in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, Friday, June 26, 2020. Coronavirus pop-up testing facilities have been setup in residential streets throughout area’s considered coronavirus hotspots following a spike in cases. (AAP Image/James Ross) (AAP)
“My biggest concern is the people on the ground, GPs in every practice around this area have been ignored and neglected from this whole process.
“What’s happened in Victoria could happen anywhere in the country. It’s unfortunate that it started with us first. I think is important we hang tough but they need to involve the local GPs who work in the area if they want to go to communities.
“We can talk to people to give them the confidence to come and get tested. It is a scary thing.”