Several COVID-19 testing sites across the Illawarra have reopened after closing for four days while pathology staff worked to clear a backlog of samples.
The Southern IML Pathology drive-through clinics at Albion Park, Berkeley, Fairy Meadow, Shellharbour, Warilla, and JJ Kelly Park and Denison Street in Wollongong, were scheduled to close for two days from Tuesday, January 11, in a bid to improve the turnaround times on test results.
It was the second time in a week the clinics had closed.
But a day later the closure was extended for another two days.
The seven sites reopened on Saturday.
At sites in the north of the region, like the two clinics in Wollongong, the long queues of weeks gone by were non-existent that morning.
However, there was demand for the Shellharbour clinic, which had a line of vehicles snaking through the car park of the Myimbarr sporting fields before 10am.
One woman said she had been waiting for 45 minutes, with about 20 cars still in front.
In recent weeks COVID screening clinics were inundated with people seeking tests, amid rising numbers of cases, interstate travel requirements, and limited holiday operating hours.
This led to Illawarra residents waiting several days, even over a week, for their test results to come back.
The issue prompted the NSW government to urge people to undertake at-home rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests at clinics unless they were symptomatic, a close contact of a case or otherwise notified to do so by NSW Health.
But a shortage of RATs quickly followed and that issue persists.
The Mercury has sought information from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and Southern IML Pathology on the results of the clinics' temporary closures.
A full list of testing clinics across the region is available online.
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