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Coronavirus clinics are being quietly set up in suburban streets

by Breanna Goodchap (2020-04-11)

A clinic to treat patients with 'mild to moderate' coronavirus symptoms is being set up in a residential Sydney street, angering some locals who fear it could lead to an outbreak among the community.

A small commercial building on Elliott Street in Balmain, in Sydney's inner west, will operate as a respiratory clinic for testing patients from Monday.

Residents found out about the clinic on Wednesday when they received a knock on the door from health officials and an accompanying letter from Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly.

Professor Kelly urged residents to 'support' the clinic, saying it would 'play a valuable role as a triage facility to help ensure hospitals are preserved for people with severe conditions'.

Treatment clinics are being rolled out across Australia as part of a $200 million initiative announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to turbocharge testing in the fight against the virus.

Tradesmen continued to move in and out of the building on Friday, rushing to have it ready for operation by next week to service an estimated 100 to 200 patients a day. Here is more in regards to we also do all asphalt and concrete repairs and can arrange for Repaving. We pride ourselves in being a one stop shop with regard to informative signage look into our web site.  

While understanding the need for such clinics as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, some locals say the location - sandwiched in between two homes and across from a popular children's park - is inappropriate.

Resident Kate Car with her kids Oliver, 6, Toby, 4, and Zavia, 3, are among locals who are upset about a coronavirus respiratory clinic being set up inside this small office building on their suburban street in Balmain, in Sydney's inner west

Situated between homes on the leafy street, the bottom floor of the two storey office building will treat an estimated 100 to 200 patients each day from next week

A small number of residents along Elliott St were told about the clinic on Wednesday by health officials.

However many only found out about its location when a copy of the letter was put in a popular local Facebook group that day. 

'I'm writing to let you know that a GP respiratory clinic is being established in your local area to help test and treat patients with mild to moderate symptoms,' the letter read.

'The respiratory clinics are a crucial part of the mix of health care services being used to respond to COVID-19.'

Residents had an impromptu meeting with clinic management on Friday in an effort to allay their fears, with some families already considering moving out of Elliott St.





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But things were only made worse when they discovered that if there is an overflow of patients for testing will be handed a buzzer - like those used in shopping centre food courts - and told to wait in their cars outside until their turn. 

Alex Day and his pregnant wife live right next door to the clinic and are concerned it will limit their ability to leave the house.  

'I am deeply unhappy about it. I've got a two-year-old and a baby on the way, so we have huge concerns about it,' Mr Day said.

'We got a copy of the letter but it is very vague, it doesn't even say where the clinic will be. I only found out by talking to someone coming out of the building.

'We are working from home and we are trying to self-isolate as much as we can, but like everyone there are times when we will have to take the kids out and that puts us at greater risk. 

Locals found out about the clinic on Wednesday when health officials knocked on their door and handed over a 'vague' letter from Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly

Builders were constantly moving in and out of the office block on Friday as they desperately try to have it ready to treat 'mild to moderate' patients from next week

Among the concern of residents is the close proximity of the clinic to not only homes, but also a park popular with parents with young children