A PROGRAM testing workers who have no symptoms of COVID-19 is being piloted in Bendigo.
Bendigo Health's rapid response team will be going to workplaces in the region and conducting saliva testing for asymptomatic workers.
The Bendigo Police Station was the first place in Victoria to take part in the program. More than 80 police officers were tested through the initiative on Friday.
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Bendigo Health chair Bob Cameron said the rapid response team was also expected to test places like meatworks and trucking companies.
"The purpose of this is to be able to quickly detect and raise the issue so we can jump on top of it, trace it, and then we can contain it and eliminate it," he said. "That's what we need to do as we open up the state."
Mr Cameron said the saliva testing would be less invasive for those workers who don't have any coronavirus symptoms.
"Part of the reason it's a pilot is because there are different ways of collecting saliva," he said. "We want to see which works best on those sites and hoping that can be replicated elsewhere."
Mr Cameron said the program would be done in cooperation with workplaces.
"This is not about storming around and knocking down doors," he said. "This is all being done voluntarily."
Bendigo Police Inspector Troy Hargadon said the pilot program was a great initiative that officers were happy to comply with.
"The members have been very forthcoming and very willing to participate," he said. "They identify as frontline response and we need to play our part in the community. This is certainly a very big step in doing so."
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the program was part of a wider push to trace coronavirus cases.
"We are seeing through the course of the pandemic that different testing mechanisms are becoming available as we look at reaching as many people in our community as possible," she said.
"When we return to a COVID-normal community, we will still need rates of testing to be high because that's the way we're going to continue to contain the spread of this virus."
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