There are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus at South West Healthcare but a separate screening area has been set up for people who need to be tested.
South West Healthcare chief executive officer Craig Fraser announced the new respiratory screening clinic on Wednesday afternoon.
He said staff would run the clinic adjacent to the hospital in order to "take some pressure off our emergency department and GP clinics and allow them to keep treating as they usually would".
"People will need to ring our hospital number and there will be an option for them to press a button to be diverted to a clinic," Mr Fraser said.
"The clinic will do an initial screening and if they meet that rigid screening criteria they will then be made an appointment to attend that clinic. They can only attend the clinic with an appointment."
South West Healthcare's infectious diseases expert Dr Mark Page said testing kits were running low world-wide and healthcare workers wanted "to make sure we're using them on the right people".
He said people would only be tested if they had close contact with a known coronavirus case, or they had travelled overseas and within the last 14 days showed symptoms such as fever and respiratory problems.
Dr Page said health care workers with "a significant respiratory illness and fever" would also be tested.
"The criteria will be very strict. It's not just anyone who wants to be tested because they are worried," he said.
South West Healthcare could not confirm how many people had been tested for coronavirus, but the chief executive said no positive results had been returned as of 3.30pm Wednesday.
The respiratory screening clinic will only accept patients who have phoned South West Healthcare on 5563 1666 and have been given an appointment.
Warrnambool's chief medical officer Dr Phil Hall said the standard across all GP clinics was "don't walk in, phone ahead and we will assess case-by-case".
"Be patient, there is so much demand at the moment and resources are stretched," he said.
"We've had hundreds of inquiries per day since Monday, we have dedicated phone consultations thanks to a new initiative by the government and we are also managing people at home.
"The more people that are out and about, the more likely they are to pick up an infection so it's important to self-isolate and if you think you are at risk then be respectful about that isolation and don't pass it on."
He said clinics across the city were starting to see confirmed cases of Influenza A, prompting doctors to start vaccinating patients - particularly those over the age of 65.
"There's also Influenza A in the community at the moment so that does muddy the waters. It's a similar timing to last year, in March to early April last year we saw a severe outbreak and it's certainly arrived now.
"The whole rationale for starting the influenza vaccine now is so that people don't get both infections at the same time.
"There are also other viruses doing the rounds, coming into winter that's the way it's going to be as people cluster around together so we urge people to wash their hands and implement coughing and sneezing etiquette to reduce the transaction from droplet spread."
Dr Hall recommended that patients call their GPs before contacting Warrnambool Base Hospital.
"In most cases it's best to contact your GP where you are known."
He said the coronavirus test result turnaround for the Warrnambool region currently sits at three to five days and that testing kit availability was low.
"We're low on kits but we just have to manage that until the supplies increase, that's why we're only swabbing the appropriate people."
The community is advised to monitor the Department of Health and Human Services' website for accurate, timely COVID-19 updates and advice.
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