A LEGALLY blind traveller has blasted the state's COVID testing system as "broken" after an ordeal following a flight from Melbourne.

The Cairns resident said she had experienced four COVID-like symptoms after flying from Melbourne on a Virgin flight earlier this month.

"I rang the COVID hotline, but they made everything so hard," the woman said.

"There was no concern from them. I was worried about where I might have potentially got it from or passed it on to."

When she informed the call centre that she was legally blind and could not attend a testing site in person, she said she was bounced around a dizzying number of referrals.

 

A nurse hands out bottles of water at the Cairns Hospital COVID-19 coronavirus testing centre. Picture: Brendan Radke
A nurse hands out bottles of water at the Cairns Hospital COVID-19 coronavirus testing centre. Picture: Brendan Radke

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"And then the Queensland Health person said there was nothing they could do," the woman said.

"There is no option in Cairns for people with disabilities. It is a broken system.

"My support worker can't bring me to a clinic if I show symptoms."

After more to-ing and fro-ing, the woman was able to secure a mobile team from a private pathology service, but would have a nerve-racking night to wait before they tested her.

The team, in full PPE, tested her at home the next day and she was informed of her clear result on Tuesday evening.

"That was absolutely ridiculous considering the call-out on Sunday night about how sick I was," she said.

A long line of people forms at the Cairns Hospital fever clinic for COVID-19 coronavirus testing. Picture: Brendan Radke
A long line of people forms at the Cairns Hospital fever clinic for COVID-19 coronavirus testing. Picture: Brendan Radke

"A lot could have gone wrong - the virus could have spread so far.

"Government agencies have been acting like they have been acting in the best interests of the public. They are on top of it, until something goes wrong."

A Queensland Health spokesman said the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service had "a range of services available to provide disability access to COVID-19 fever clinics".

"Our main fever clinic at Cairns Hospital has a ramp to support disabled access and we have a drive-through service available at 43 Aumuller St, Portsmith," he said.

"We can also facilitate testing of those with vulnerabilities who arrive in their own, or prearranged transport services," the spokesman said.

"QML Pathology also offers home-testing services to individuals with disabilities, upon enquiries."

Originally published as 'Broken system': Why disabled traveller blasted COVID testing



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