COVID-19 testing

Where can I get a test for COVID-19 in our region?

All GP clinics the Mount Alexander Shire are testing registered patients. If you aren’t registered with a local GP clinic, your nearest COVID-19 assessment centre is Bendigo Health. To check the criteria for testing visit the DHHS website.

A coronavirus (COVID-19) screening clinic is also operating at CHIRP Community Health in Castlemaine. Testing is available for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 or needing mandatory testing prior to surgery. The drive through screening clinic is located at 13 Mostyn Street and provides testing by appointment only. Testing is available between the hours of 2pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday and Friday, and between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday. Call CHIRP Community Health on 5479 1000 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week to make an appointment. Those with an appointment can drive through the CHIRP Community Health carpark.

Is Castlemaine Health testing for COVID-19?

Castlemaine Health is conducting limited testing for COVID-19 and prioritising testing of staff, patients and residents in accordance with DHHS guidelines.


I’m booked for an x-ray/scan, will that be happening?

Bendigo Radiology has an onsite facility at Castlemaine Health for general x-rays, CT scans, dental imaging and ultrasounds. These services are operating normally, however all visitors to the Urgent Care Centre must be temperature checked at the door and will be asked a series of health screen questions before they can enter the building.

Maternity services

Can I birth at Castlemaine Health?

Our maternity services are currently on hold as a result of the review of maternity services conducted in May-June 2020. Castlemaine Health, Safer Care Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services and Bendigo Health are working together to reinstate services as soon as possible. More information is available on our Maternity Services pages.

Inpatient services

Is elective surgery still happening?

Urgent elective surgery is continuing at Castlemaine Health for now. Urgent surgery is:
• Surgery required to alleviate chronic and serious pain, or
• Carried out where it is determined that a person is likely be admitted to hospital in a more serious condition as a direct result of not having had surgery performed.

Is the Urgent Care Centre still open?

Yes, we are still seeing patients through our Urgent Care Centre. Patients can bring one visitor/support person with them. Visitors to the Urgent Care Centre must be temperature checked at the door and will be asked a series of health screen questions before they can enter the building

Can I visit someone in Geroe Acute or Connolly Rehabilitation?

From Monday, 14 September each patient may have one visitor for half an hour a day. Visits should be pre-booked via the ward.

Visitors will be temperature checked and asked a series of health screen questions on arrival. They must also sign the visitors must sign the visitor logbook to enable monitoring of visitor movements.

Compassionate visits can be agreed at the discretion of Nurse Unit Managers.

Infection Control

Should I be wearing a face mask?

New research around face masks specific to COVID-19 has shown they have an effect in reducing transmission. Masks are a second line of defence when we can’t maintain social distance. They add a helpful, additional protective physical barrier, but social distancing is still the number one thing. Any face covering needs to cover both your nose and mouth. A mask can be disposable or a re-useable one made of cloth. Disposable masks need to be discarded after each use. If you’re going to make your own or purchase a cloth mask the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends they are made of three layers.

  • An outer layer of water-resistant fabric like polyester or polypropylene (eg. reusable ‘green’ shopping bags or exercise clothing)
  • A middle layer of a cotton polyester blend or polypropylene (eg. clothing or more of the green shopping bag material from the outer layer)
  • An inner layer of water-absorbing fabric like cotton
  • Ear loops made of elastic, string or cloth strips.

Remember to:

  • Check the tag to confirm the type of material
  • Make sure all materials are intact, have not worn too thin or have holes in them
  • A reversible cloth mask is not advisable.
  • Facial hair will compromise the effectiveness of any mask and may not provide protection.
  • Remember, any face mask or covering is better than non. This includes a scarf or bandana.

While we are closed to visitors, if you are coming in for an X-ray, surgery or a pre-arranged and authorised visit on compassionate grounds, you will be given a hospital mask to wear for the duration of your visit. If you arrive wearing a homemade mask you will be asked to remove this and use the hospital mask to ensure the safety of our staff and others. This will be a requirement for entry into the health service.

Does it matter what you wash your hands with?

A: No, it doesn’t really matter what product you use, it’s the mechanical action of washing that is most important. You do need to use soap of some sort to create the sudsing that assists with removal of the micro-organisms. Washing should be vigorous and take about 20 seconds (one idea circulating at the moment is that this is about the length of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice). The water doesn’t need to be hot, it’s the soap and the action that’s most important. If you don’t have access to a hand basin you can use alcoholic hand sanitiser, making sure that the amount of alcohol in the product is over 60 per cent and preferably over 70 per cent If your hands are soiled you’ll need to wash them. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser won’t kill the micro-organisms if they can’t get to your skin.

Is the way you manage infection control at hospital different at home?

The basic principles of infection control are the same but within the hospital system we have a ‘magnified’ situation. We have more people and those people have contact with multiple patients and clients every day. Within the hospital system we need to be extremely vigilant because we have patients and clients who are elderly or very young, immunocompromised or at risk for a variety of reasons. So what we do is an accelerated version of basic infection control.

Why is hand washing and wiping surfaces so important?

Washing hands is the core of infection control. If you don’t have good hand hygiene the rest can be futile, whether you’re in a hospital or at home. Viruses like influenza and COVID-19 are all spread by contact and droplets. Essentially, you pick up one of these viruses by someone coughing or sneezing on you and the droplets come in direct contact with your mucous membranes (mouth/nose/ eyes) or, by touching a surface where the virus has been transported by someone else and bringing your hands to your face where it enters through the mucous membranes.

Do I need antibacterial surface spray?

No, not in a home situation. It’s the mechanical process of cleaning that does the work. What you clean the surface with is less important. When it comes to how often a surface needs to be cleaned that’s down to what the surface is used for, what it’s exposed to and how many people have touched it. How long a virus can live on a surface varies, so frequent cleaning of surfaces you use often is best.

What else can I do?

Stick to the basics of infection control. In the current situation it is very important that you do as requested. If you’ve travelled or have been in contact with a case of COVID-19 and need to self-isolate. If you are feeling unwell, also stay home. Look after yourself, your health, your immune system and manage your stress levels. Try to live as normal a life as possible and care for your fellow human beings. Reach out and say hello. Make use of technology like FaceTime or Skype to contact an elderly relative or text a neighbour to see if they have everything they need. Be informed but choose reputable sources of information and think twice before you share unsubstantiated or sensational messages. You don’t know the impact it may have on someone who is already in a fragile state.

Adult Day Services

Are group programs and activities running?

No, our group programs, activities and outings are not currently operating due to COVID-19. We are keeping in touch with our clients by phone and sending weekly newsletters by email to help everyone feel connected. If you usually attend one of our programs or activities and are not receiving our newsletter please call the Adult Day Service on 03 5471 3566 so we can add you to the list.