Bendigo Health is preparing for more days of increased COVID-19 testing following long wait times at its Stewart Street clinic at the weekend.
More than 1300 people were tested for coronavirus in the past three days - almost nine times the number completed in the three days to Boxing Day when Bendigo Health testers swabbed 150 people.
People were forced to wait for hours at testing clinics at the weekend with a line of cars waiting to be tested stretching around the block from the Stewart Street testing site on Saturday.
Bendigo Health acting CEO Robyn Lindsay said she felt the peak of testing demands had passed but a high number of people would still need tests in the coming days.
"Over the next week or two we do expect a higher level of demand (as people) who need to get tested again are retested," she said.
Almost 60,000 Victorians returned from NSW during the New Year's Eve period due to the government's decision to close the border. On January 1, the Bendigo Health drive-through clinic was closed, leaving the walk-in clinic as the only testing site open for people.
"We considered all options to increase testing at short notice including additional drive-through and walk-in clinics," Ms Lindsay said. "We decided consolidation at the Bendigo Health site was safest. Our hours were extended and (extra) staff called in. We had a plan to increase capacity if demand required, which we enacted. Staff came back from planned leave and others, not rostered on, came in."
Ms Lindsay said as soon as Bendigo Health could safely open the drive-through clinic they did.
On Saturday, the Stewart Street drive-through and walk-in clinics had their hours extended. Testing clinic hours will be from 10am to 5.30pm this week but hours could extended if the demand is there.
"There is a number of considerations as to what time we stop accepting patients into testing clinics," Ms Lindsay said. "Some of that is around traffic management. We did extend hours (on Saturday).
"I would like to thank the amazing efforts of staff because when do (extend testing hours) it means people work longer shifts than anticipated. While they might be happy to do that, it takes them away from their families during the holidays."
Those waiting in the testing line on Saturday were resourceful and prepared with food, drinks and entertainment while some people even had lunch delivered by UberEats or MenuLog drivers.
Janelle Kelly was spending her second day in the testing line and had lunch delivered for her daughter.
"We got here at 10am and are probably about an hour away but it feels like it is moving quicker today," she said. "We came back from NSW and pushed to do it before New Year's Eve."
Two men, who returned from Broken Hill on New Year's Day joined the end of the drive-through queue in Arnold Street at 9.50am.
Victoria's COVID-19 testing manager Jeroen Weimar said a large number of those travellers would have been through the testing process already.
"Over 75 per cent of people who returned from NSW in the previous weeks (from December 18) got tested very quickly," he said. "We are continuing that process with this 60,000 people and in the next two days expect the majority of people to have got through."
Mr Weimar said asked people to persevere and be patient if they were waiting to be tested.
"For the 60 'zero days' there were about 13,000 tests a day. (Currently) it is more than double what we have been doing the last few months," he said.
"This outbreak has come right between Christmas and New Year's Eve, when Victorians are taking leave. We have brought a large number (of staff) back from their leave plans and thank the people did that. That's why we have delivered 25,000 test results (on Saturday)."