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Star Health Mobile COVID-19 Testing Team

Sarah Fair, acting General Manager of Healthy Communities, reports on the wonderful work of our Mobile COVID Testing Teams.

Back in early June the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) asked us to run a COVID-19 Community Engagement and Health Promotion Program in Public Housing in Port Phillip and Stonnington. A week later we were asked to add all vulnerable communities to our cohort for the model and it became clear very early in the game that outreach testing needed to be on the menu. And so the Mobile COVID Testing Team (MCTT) was born.

In week 3 of providing clinics and happily standing up 5 pop up clinics a week, we were asked to “supercharge” our program by the Regional Director of the DHHS. The following week we stood up 13 clinics across 7 different sites. This week we will be running the same number, moving across new sites and extending our program in the larger estates. Going forward we will provide a less intensive program at estates  with a greater focus on vulnerable communities, community housing and novel locations (such as near food services) using the Testing Bus we had fitted out for the roving team.

The Star Health Mobile COVID Testing Team has conducted 1286 tests across public housing estates and two community sites since June 25th using a nurse led model. We have collaborated closely with the social landlords (office of housing managers) and wrapped in the expertise of the South Melbourne Community Capacity Building team to develop up a door-to-door testing model that outreaches from our pop-up clinics. The door-to-door teams rove the towers and corridors with a community health or DHHS worker knocking and calling out info about the testing at each door and with a range of interpreters following up. At Park Towers on July 9th , a Saturday, we met with people who would have missed out had we not been in the company of Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Oromo, Somali and Russian interpreters. The rate of doors opened ranged from 34% to over 50%. We have been delighted and privileged to access the corridors of people’s homes and their community spaces to provide this important service. And we were thrilled to get door knocking over the line in the context of fear that surrounds some of the properties because of the occasional crime.

And as at time of writing, thankfully we do not have high numbers of positive cases.

Thanks from the MCTT team to everyone who has contributed to the project across Star Health and remember to stay safe.

Megan Davidson – Project Manager

Tara Kelly – Health Promotion Coordinator

Tony Wright – Project Officer

Fiona Noble – Community Outreach Worker and Liaison