COVID TESTS: I was handed a mask upon entry and the process takes about 15 minutes.

COVID TESTS: I was handed a mask upon entry and the process takes about 15 minutes.

In regional NSW just getting to a COVID-19 test is half the problem

Opinion: Regional NSW transport inadequacies make a coronavirus test more difficult


It all started with a sniffle.


IT ALL started with a sniffle.

A weekend away in Newcastle, the chilly wintry breeze and an outfit built for style instead of comfort had landed me with a nasty cold.

Within days I had developed into an incubus of the viral plague, working from home the roommate's cat was my only form of contact.

As a journalist I was familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19. I knew the right thing to do was to get a test.

But, with just the foot falcons to get me there I found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Everyone told me I could never survive in regional NSW without a car and for two years I have proved them wrong. This was the first time my two legs and lack of four wheels had let me down.

In Tamworth there are limited options to get tested, one can take themselves to Douglas Hanly Moir with a referral - still a pain in the backside without a car but more convenient than the Tamworth Respiratory Clinic on the other side of town.

The obvious answer was a taxi, but coughing and sneezing and potentially riddled with COVID-19; who on Earth will take you to a clinic?

How many people don't get tested based on the simple fact that they can't get there?

Public transport was out. Thankfully I have a legend of a roommate and friend who agreed to drive me and who was most likely to have been exposed already.

My question is, what happens to the single mother of three children who has no way to get there? Or the elderly who by virtue of their vintage struggle to take public transport in the first place?

There needs to be a shuttle service or mobile testing in the regions to make sure everyone who needs a test gets one and keeps the community safe.

In the end I got there, a very long and thin stick swabbed the very back of my nostril and poked parts of my brain I never knew existed.

I'm not sure what happened but after that I could smell colour.

Oh, and before you freak out, my test results were negative.