A new pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic is operating at La Trobe University's Bendigo campus this week.
Between 10am and 4.30pm on Thursday and Friday, the clinic - operated by Bendigo Health's rapid response testing team - will be open to anyone in the community.
La Trobe University Bendigo's acting head of campus, Dr Melanie Bish, said Bendigo Health approached the university given the size of its staff and the number of students locally.
Dr Bish said they felt particularly responsible in taking the lead on public health initiatives given the presence of the university's Rural Health School.
The clinic, which opened on Wednesday, was also a response to the decline in testing rates, she said, and gave residents in the area another option for testing.
Dr Bish encouraged anyone with even the mildest of symptoms to present for testing, as this would provide an idea of the prevalence of the virus in the community.
The clinic is drive-through, but there is also a walk-up option for those without a vehicle.
Bendigo Health's rapid response testing team mostly works in rural and regional areas that do not have testing facilities.
Last week the team conducted 325 tests in Rochester.
It has also visited Heathcote and there are plans to travel to Inglewood and Boort.
In the week to Tuesday, Bendigo Health had conducted an average of 159 tests each day across its testing sites.
Bendigo Health chief executive officer Peter Faulkner said this was down by about 100 per day.
"To some degree that's not unexpected with an improvement in the weather, we would expect there is less common cold and influenza circulating in the community, so presumably less people with mild symptoms," Mr Faulkner said.
"However, it is the time of year that allergies start to emerge, and we would really encourage people not to just dismiss symptoms as a little bit of hayfever or something such, that they really should come and get tested."
Mr Faulkner said the health service had tracked every case and connected them back to other known cases or outbreaks.
"We know that the particular spike in cases in Greater Bendigo were all linked back to metropolitan Melbourne in one way or another, so we don't believe there is any free transmission or mystery cases as such, and we'd like to keep it that way. but if we don't get tested, the risk is... we will get community transmission, and it will make that tracking and tracing really tricky," he said.
The pop-up screening clinic at the La Trobe University campus in Flora Hill is located in car park four, off Sharon Street.
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