Hazeldene's workforce takes part in virus saliva testing trial

Bendigo Health to administer saliva tests to 200 Hazeldene's staff each week

Coronavirus
TRIAL: Bendigo Health will perform about 200 COVID-19 saliva tests per week at Hazeldene's Chicken Farm as the government's saliva testing trial continues. Picture: DARREN HOWE

TRIAL: Bendigo Health will perform about 200 COVID-19 saliva tests per week at Hazeldene's Chicken Farm as the government's saliva testing trial continues. Picture: DARREN HOWE

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Hazeldene's chief executive Mark Heintz said the organisation is putting its staff through the trial for the good of the community and their own health.

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Employees of poultry processor Hazeldene's Chicken Farm will participate in a COVID-19 saliva testing trial, as the state government ramps up surveillance testing in regional Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews said increased surveillance testing would help paint a clearer picture of where coronavirus is in the state.

The saliva testing trial at Hazeldene's is a partnership between the state government and the Doherty Institute, with members of Bendigo's police force already part of the program.

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Hazeldene's chief executive Mark Heintz said the organisation is putting its staff through the trial for the good of the community and their own health.

"We had the whole site tested six weeks ago and this is the follow up to that," Mr Heintz said.

Hazeldene's chief executive Mark Heintz. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Hazeldene's chief executive Mark Heintz. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Hazeldene's was linked to a cluster of 37 coronavirus cases in August.

Mr Heintz said none of the current Hazeldene's workforce comes from Melbourne.

"Workers from Melbourne were a small percentage of our workforce before the outbreak," he said.

"We have some operations in Melbourne, but there are COVID safe plans in place when some staff commute to other workplaces.

Bendigo Health chief nursing and midwifery officer David Rosaia. Picutre: DARREN HOWE

Bendigo Health chief nursing and midwifery officer David Rosaia. Picutre: DARREN HOWE

Bendigo Health chief nursing and midwifery officer David Rosaia said saliva testing has proven to be more efficient and easier to perform.

"It's a pilot study so the data is not available as to how effective the test is compared to the nasal swab yet," Mr Rosaia said.

Bendigo Health's Rapid Response Testing Team will be tasked with testing the Hazeldene's workforce once a week for the next month, among other targeted testing initiatives across the region.

The story Hazeldene's workforce takes part in virus saliva testing trial first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.

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