Testing rush

The Oakbank racecourse is being considered as a testing centre.

The concept of using the Oakbank racecourse as a drive-through Covid-19 testing centre appears to have merit and is worthy of more detailed consideration.
Utilising the racecourse could well be the answer to solving the recent disgraceful scenes in Mt Barker where hundreds of people spent hours huddled under umbrellas in cold conditions and driving rain to get tested.
Those scenes prompted calls for an immediate solution – either putting up temporary shelters for people at the Mt Barker centre, developing an online booking system to avoid queues, or establishing a drive-through clinic in the region.
Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate the situation as the number of people needing tests has reduced significantly since the State’s seven-day lockdown ended.
This window of opportunity must be grasped by authorities before any return of community spread of the virus in SA sparks a repeat of the rush.
And with so few people fully vaccinated, and authorities in other States battling to control the highly infectious Delta variant, the chance of another outbreak is high.
So, while the clinics are quiet, now is the time to plan for the future.
Which brings us back to Oakbank.
The racecourse could be an ideal location for a drive-through clinic as it is relatively isolated, has plenty of room and is already designed to handle high traffic volumes without causing too much disturbance to other road users.
The Government simply cannot ask sick people to stand out in the rain for hours in order to get tested.
The willingness of the community to do exactly that is nothing short of heroic and it is beholden on our authorities to repay that goodwill by recognising and addressing the shortcomings of the current system.
Winter is far from over in the Hills and an answer must be found sooner rather than later.