With the recent opening of the GP Respiratory Clinic at Bathurst's Ochre Health Medical Centre, the organisation wants to stress that COVID-19 checks are free and safe for all patients, regardless of circumstances.
Since opening nearly two weeks ago, the respiratory clinic has been treating patients from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, equating to around 16 patients a day.
Ochre Health director of medical services Dr John Hall said it's important for members of the community to understand the respiratory clinic is federal government-funded, allowing anyone with flu-like symptoms to get checked.
"This service is funded so that we can provide it free of charge to the community, even if they're from a low socio-economic background or on a working visa," Dr Hall said.
"The federal government has done this in a concerted way to expand testing for people who may be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and the more tests we conduct, the closer we get to quelling the virus."
Dr Hall, who is also the president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, said it's also important for the community to understand their safety is paramount during their attendance at the clinic.
"There are two separate areas in the respiratory clinic: one for COVID-19 testing and another focusing on people at lesser risk of COVID-19 with pre-existing respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic lung disease," he said.
"Doctors and nurses on site assess and sort patients into these two categories while wearing full personal protective equipment [PPE], maintaining minimal touching and regular use of disinfectant on key surfaces of contact."
Each test takes around 15 minutes and involves taking swab samples from the throat and nose.
The samples are then sent to Laverty Pathology's main laboratory in Sydney for analysis, and patients will usually receive a result within 36 hours.
"We are able to send results to patients via text message should they provide consent," Laverty Pathology head of microbiology Dr Juliette Holland said.
"At our laboratory, were are currently able to analyse up to 2000 samples a day."
Ochre Health has more than 40 GP practices across Australia, providing comprehensive health care services in rural and metropolitan areas.
Patients displaying mild to moderate symptoms are encouraged to book an appointment to the respiratory clinic online. For more information, visit www.ochrehealth.com.au.