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‘There’s at least 100 people waiting to be tested’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

When she came down with a sniffle and a light cough, Melbourne woman Penelope Kaltzis didn’t expect that within two days that she’d be swabbing her throat in a hospital hallway for coronavirus.

When she came down with a sniffle and a light cough, Melbourne woman Penelope Kaltzis didn't expect that within two days that she'd be swabbing her throat in a hospital hallway for coronavirus.

Suffering from a cold and then hit with a coughing fit on Monday night, Ms Kaltzis decided to go to see her GP in case she needed a medical certificate for extra time off work.

"Since I have asthma, allergies and work in health care, the protocol was to call the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Service) and they recommended I get pre-screened (for coronavirus)," she told nine.com.au.

Four screening clinics have been set up in public hospitals across Victoria to combat the influx of patients showing symptoms for COVID-19.

The state's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos is looking increase testing capacities from 500 tests per day to more than 1000, with more than 250 people presenting themselves to the clinics in the past few days.

Ms Kaltzis today went to one the screening clinic at Alfred Hospital and said she was shocked by the volume of people seeking pre-screening.

"There were at least 80 to 100 people waiting in one room, herded together," the 22-year-old said.

Accompanied by her mother, Lucy Kaltzis, the pair was immediately given masks and ushered into a "jam-packed" waiting room.

"The hospital was so packed, we thought we were going to have to wait to be tested until 2am," Mrs Kaltzis said.

"Fever clinics' are being set up with separate entrances to test people for the novel coronavirus.

"People waiting for screening were called in groups of five to test themselves with a throat and nose swab package.

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"After that you were dismissed with the advice to stay home for 48 hours."

Containment of documenting the process with images or videos inside the screening centres is strictly forbidden.

"People were trying to take pictures inside the hospital, but they're being told off as soon as they do," Ms Kaltzis said.

"There's a strict no phones, no contact rule."

Tips for self-isolation as the coronavirus spreads.

The 22-year-old will now have to self-isolate at home for 48 hours until her test results come back.

People suspecting they have coronavirus are also being told to call Victoria's dedicated hotline and Nurse-On-Call Hotline, however a large influx of calls earlier today caused it to crash.

In response, health authorities announced plans to "massively scale up our call centre" during the week.

"I know that our health sector is well prepared and the amazing people that work in our health centre will rise to the occasion," Ms Mikakos said.

There are 16 reported COVID-19 cases in Victoria and infections worldwide have passed 110,000.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-melbourne-woman-describes-covid19-screening-clinic/f20939f7-59a9-4ef2-82d4-1f1081b39d54

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