VICTORIAN health authorities are yet to explain why people returning from NSW received conflicting information, after widespread confusion about whether they were required to have a COVID-19 test on day 11 of their isolation.
The Department of Health and Human Services has offered another clarification around testing, saying anyone who had already tested negative COVID-19 was not required to get a day 11 test, after the quarantine deadline was brought forward.
Prior to the rule changing, none of the returnees the Bendigo Advertiser spoke to were told that they were required to receive a COVID-19 test on day 11 of their quarantine, either on their permit, when crossing the border, or via text.
This was despite Bendigo Health moving its testing site to accommodate expected increased demand on Monday and Tuesday, 11 days after the Victorian border closed.
The information did not appear on the DHHS website sections dedicated to Victorians who had returned from NSW. No mention of a day 11 test for NSW returnees appeared to exist on any other part of the website.
It comes after the department provided incorrect information to the Bendigo Advertiser on Saturday, giving verbal confirmation that returnees from regional NSW were not required to take a day 11 test.
Two days later DHHS issued a statement that returnees required a day 11 test, correcting what a spokesperson told the Advertiser on Saturday. A spokesperson said all returned travellers from NSW should have been prompted by text message to get a day 11 test.
But on Wednesday DHHS confirmed after a change to the border rules any regional NSW returnee who had received a negative test result since arriving in Victoria was free to leave quarantine without a day 11 test.
Nadya Volkofsky and Julie Thomas were among several returnees from regional NSW who said on Saturday they were unsure whether or not they needed a COVID-19 test 11 days after their return, in addition to one taken within 24-hours.
None of these returnees had heard any mention of an 11 day test, whether on their permits, at the border, when they were first tested or via text from DHHS.
Miss Volkofsky was given a self-isolation information sheet, which only mentioned an 11 day test for close contacts of COVID-19 cases. She was not told whether NSW returnees were deemed to fall into that category.
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