COOBER PEDY News & Events


By Margaret Mackay

Coober Pedy is well prepared for local Covid-19 testing thanks to a few upgrades to the Medical Practice area in McDougall Road and to a small but dedication team of local health workers.

Matt Key (client) presents for testing at the new clinic for our educational exercise. Gai Di Donna RN Clinician masked up and taking a swap outside the medical practice

Gai Di Donna is a Registered Nurse at the Coober Pedy Medical Centre and together with her colleagues, Julie Marron (EFNLHN Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery), Sue Jackson (Director of Nursing at Coober Pedy Hospital) and the Coober Pedy Regional Times Newspaper we enacted a typical visit to the new clinic at the Coober Pedy Medical Centre.

Matthew Key local resident and also Presiding Member Far North Health Advisory Council was kind enough to take part in this educational program for the community as ‘the client’ being tested for Covd-19.

SA Health are advising Coober Pedy residents to firstly ring up a general practitioner, in the event that you display ‘flu-like symptoms’. Local numbers are: General Medical Practice, Ph: (08) 8678 9224; Dr. E. Kamitakahara Ph: 08 8672 5102 or Umoona Tjutagku Health when there is a Doctor on site Ph: 8672 5255. “Bear in mind that Doctors will generally not visit your home.”

Matthew Key (client) presented for testing at the new clinic as part of an educational exercise between SA Health and the Coober Pedy Regional Times where Gai Di Donna RN Clinician explained the process of screening for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) to Matt.

“If you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days, or if you have come from interstate in the past 7 days or been in contact with a confirmed Covid 19 case and if the symptoms are mild, we expect you to have called us previously where a registered nurse would have rung you back after 1.00pm and arranged this appointment,” Gai explained to client Matthew

“If your symptoms are severe, we would advise you to present to the hospital and how to do this.”

“These clinic tests can also be referred back to the GP who can support you if the test is determined to be positive.”

Julie Marron said, “The Clinic is open from 1-4pm each afternoon (week days) so that if you have a respiratory issue we can isolate you from the waiting room and the general hospital.”

“The new clinic is located at the far left of the Medical Centre. Sue Radeka and Gai Di Donna are the nurses that will be ringing you back,” said Ms Marron.

The new clinic at Coober Pedy is located at the far left of the Medical Practice. Once you phone and make contact, you may be directed to attend the clinic in your car.

If you develop ‘flu-like’ symptoms:
A) Avoid contact with others if you are unwell.
B) Ring a General Practitioner. (See numbers provided)
C) Nurses will ring you back and ask you to come in for a test after they have done the telephone screening process
D) We will firstly advise you to present in your car for a swab.
E) If you are very unwell we will bring you inside for examination by the doctor.

The nurse taking the swab will ask you questions like:
Q. Have you been overseas in the past two weeks?
Q. Do you have a headache?
Q. Do you have a temperature?
Q. Do you have a sore throat or a cough?

“We will take a swab and will send your swab off to SA Pathology. Test results take about 2 days to return”, said Gai.

Swabbing in your vehicle – Gai explains more
“As previously mentioned, if you have mild symptoms you will need to present in your vehicle at the far left of the Medical Centre. See photo of Medical Centre carpark below:

“Pull up outside the far left of the building and remain in your vehicle and a nurse will attend at your car window and take a swab.”

“We will have an information pack to give you about home isolation; staying at home for 14 days; how to isolate and what to do.”

“While you are isolated, if you need more information, call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 or go to

The Director of Nursing at Coober Pedy Hospital Sue Jackson added, “Of course if you are severely unwell, such as having difficulty breathing, call 000 (Triple Zero). SAAS can also do a screening and provide transport where required.”

“It might be a good time to get your SA Ambulance subscription up to date as well. Either pick up forms and pay at Post Office of it can be done online”

“We advise our clients to go the SA Health Website and keep up to date with the latest updates; or to the SA Health Facebook page

The World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and is now worldwide pandemic. Should the winter virus and flu’s collide with Covid-19 Australia’s hospital system would collapse.

As of this date there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 at either Coober Pedy or Oodnadatta

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