Drive-through COVID clinics now testing for multiple viruses at the same time

Covid-19 testing sites across South Australia will now test for multiple viruses at the same time including influenza and RSV.

SA Pathology is stepping up testing for flu and other viruses this winter, allowing more people to get tested for multiple respiratory viruses at the same time.

South Australians can go to any of the SA Pathology drive-through testing sites with a GP referral and be tested for 12 different viruses, including influenza, RSV and COVID-19.

The multi-virus (multiplex) testing is geared towards at-risk groups to ensure they can access COVID or flu treatments quickly, with GPs able to access results and consult with patients in need as soon as possible. Referrals can also be made through telehealth appointments.

“Due to the increased risk of flu this season, people with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms should contact their GP about accessing combined testing,” said Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier.

“If you have symptoms and are in a high-risk group that will benefit from flu treatments, you should speak to your GP about a combined COVID-19 and flu test. This will ensure that you can access COVID-19 or flu treatments quickly.

“It is important that your doctor is involved with this extended testing to facilitate access to treatment if necessary. This is recommended for people who are at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19 or influenza.”

SA Pathology has now doubled the number of multi-virus tests it can process per day, from 500 to 1,000 – but there is capacity for more tests to be processed depending on the number of COVID-only tests per day.

“As the pandemic evolves, expanding our sites to allow for multiplex testing is another way in which SA Pathology is adapting to meet the needs of South Australians with a higher risk of influenza,” said SA Pathology Clinical Service Director Dr Sophia Otto.

“This approach will ensure there is ready access to multiplex testing in South Australia while also maintaining our current laboratory capacity for COVID-19 population testing.”

Those with symptoms in a high-risk group can also access multi-virus testing through private providers at Clinpath or Australian Clinical Labs.

Multi-virus testing has been available since the start of the pandemic, but as flu numbers increase there is a need to ensure those at high risk of severe illness have ready access to this type of testing.

Anyone who has received multi-virus testing will be able to receive their full results through their referring GP, but COVID results will be texted in the usual way from SA Health. It will take around 24 hours to process multi-virus results.

This connection with a person’s GP will then enable them to discuss their results and access oral anti-viral treatment, if needed.

Free COVID-19 tests – without a GP referral – will continue to be available at SA Pathology sites across the state.

This approach will maintain the high level of laboratory capacity and short turnaround times for COVID-19 testing for both current cases and future waves and variants.

The 12 viruses tested for:

  • Adenovirus
  • Bordetella pertussis
  • Influenza A; Influenza B
  • Human metapneumovirus
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Parainfluenza 1; Parainfluenza 2; Parainfluenza 3
  • Rhinovirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

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