Health team, volunteers at Cowra's pop-up drive through COVID testing clinic thanked for efforts

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, Councillor Ray Walsh and Cowra Health Services Manager, Pauline Rowston.
Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, Councillor Ray Walsh and Cowra Health Services Manager, Pauline Rowston.

Health staff and volunteers lending a helping hand at Cowra's pop-up drive through COVID testing clinic have been thanked for their efforts.

Since Friday, September 17, more than 5000 tests have been conducted at the Cowra Showground and Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke praised those involved with setting up and running the clinic.

"There's been a phenomenal effort by so many people to make this testing clinic work day after day after day," she said.

"We've got health teams that are turning day in, day out, giving it their best and they are so very well supported by council and at times, the SES and other volunteers.

"Just to make sure that everybody that wants to be tested at this time and needs to be tested at this time, can actually be in a really, really safe and secure environment."

In particular, Ms Cooke thanked Health Services Manager, Pauline Rowston and her team for conducting testing, sometimes late into the night.

"She is just such a wonderful asset to our team, she's a true leader and the team just keeps stepping up day after day after day and we are deeply grateful to them for doing so because we are in a concerning situation here in Cowra," Ms Cooke said.

"They recognise that, the community more broadly recognises that and everybody is just pitching in to do their little bit to help get us through this in one piece."

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To express their gratitude, Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West and Cr Ray Walsh held a barbecue for the workers and volunteers.

"[A] really well organised clinic, great initiative, hats off to the health staff and the emergency services, the police and all those involved, absolutely unbelievable effort," Cr West said.

"Adam Beard (Inspector in Charge of Cowra Police), Harvey Nicholson (Cowra Council), Pauline Rowston, unbelievable teams."

Cr West also thanked the community for coming forward to get tested.

"It's absolutely enormous, the way the community have responded is somewhat almost awe-inspiring, the way people have been prepared to come over and go through the process," he said.

Ms Cooke said Cowra's clinic, which was one of the pilots for surveillance testing, has proven a success and similar sites have now been established across Western NSW Local Health District.

"This is a wonderful new development and to see a new pilot program morph into a standard practice for health across our whole region, is a tremendous win, especially for our small communities," she said.

"Going forward, we know we've got the right formula for when a similar incident arises in the future, which we know it will because COVID will continue to present a risk to our communities and a challenge to our communities for some time."

Cr West urged the community to continue to come forward for testing, as well as getting vaccinated and abiding by the public health orders.

"We're in a pandemic, its affected the nation, affected the globe. So let's just not panic, let's stay calm, do the right thing, self-isolate, look after our family, look after our friends, look after those around us and check on your neighbours," he said.

"Let's remember that some people are not well so I personally wish them all the best and a speedy and a full recovery. We're thinking of them.

"People are working very, very hard, the community has been really, really supportive and I think the more support we give and the more we avail ourselves for this surveillance testing, the more we make sure our vaccination numbers get up, the better off we're all going to be."

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