Australia

People queue more than four hours for testing clinic in south-west Sydney

NSW Health will open a new coronavirus testing clinic in Picton and extend hours at its Crossroads Hotel pop-up site in Casula, after hundreds of cars lined up for more than four hours in south-west Sydney to get tested on Monday.

The NSW government has asked any person who went to the Casula pub or the Imperial Hotel in Picton on the same day as confirmed cases to get tested for COVID-19. The Crossroads Hotel cluster ballooned to 21 cases on Monday.

The head of the queue before it reaches the car park at the Crossroads Hotel on Monday.

The head of the queue before it reaches the car park at the Crossroads Hotel on Monday.Credit:James Brickwood

A pop-up clinic was established in the Crossroads car park on Friday evening after two people, who visited the venue on July 3, tested positive for COVID-19. Queues of more than a kilometre were reported over the weekend.

Cars snaked around the block for about a kilometre at midday on Monday, creating a stationary lane of traffic on a stretch of the Hume Highway that curved off the main road, past Bunnings and KFC, and back around to the car park entrance off Campbelltown Road.

Moey Kerrigan, who went to the Crossroads Hotel last Tuesday, had been in line for four hours at 1pm and was still more than 20 cars away from the front.

He and three friends, who were getting tested because they had been in proximity, said the line "was much longer than expected". But they persevered because they needed the test results to go back to work.

Moey Kerrigan and three of his friends had been waiting more than four hours for a test. Mr Kerrigan went to the Crossroads Hotel last week, and his friends are getting tested out of precaution.

Moey Kerrigan and three of his friends had been waiting more than four hours for a test. Mr Kerrigan went to the Crossroads Hotel last week, and his friends are getting tested out of precaution.Credit:James Brickwood

Other people arrived and parked nearby, hoping to be tested in person, but promptly left upon learning the queue was over three hours long in the morning.

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay arrived at the car park at midday and called for a "massive expansion of testing" in response to the waiting times that thousands of people were facing.

"They're doing the right thing, however they're waiting four to five hours just to get a COVID-19 test," Ms McKay said.

Extended hours of testing had been made available at Liverpool, Campbelltown and Fairfield hospitals, but Ms McKay said locations needed to be more convenient.

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay addresses reporters from the car park.

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay addresses reporters from the car park.Credit:James Brickwood

She said she had seen a number of cars leave the queue as people had work commitments, ran out of petrol, or didn't allow enough time because they thought it would be a quicker process.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant announced new clinic sites and extended hours at a 3pm press conference on Monday.

"I cannot express my gratitude enough to the [NSW] Health teams that stood up to do the testing, but most importantly to the community who have come out in such numbers to get tested," Dr Chant said.

"I would like to stress that we are extending the time of the COVID clinic at the Crossroads Hotel, and looking also for additional sites."

COVID-19 testing at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, where a coronavirus cluster has emerged.

COVID-19 testing at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, where a coronavirus cluster has emerged.Credit:James Brickwood

NSW Health confirmed the Crossroads Hotel pop-up clinic would be open until 9pm on Monday and reopen earlier on Tuesday, at 8.30am.

"As this clinic is quite busy, people are asked to be patient and attend the other clinics where possible," its statement said.

A pop-up clinic will also open at Victoria Park on Menangle Road, Picton, between 8.30am and 6pm on Tuesday.

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One factory worker, who asked not to be named but lined up for testing after attending the Picton Hotel on July 4, said that people who were concerned would get tested regardless of lines and had no choice if they wanted to return to work.

He was sent home to self-isolate from his Ingleburn work site after learning someone who had gone to the Picton Hotel had tested positive.

The man and two friends, who included a Picton Hotel security guard, had packed lunch in preparation for the four-hour line-up.

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