Queensland’s best defences against a sustained outbreak of COVID-19 via community transmission are quarantine, border controls, testing and contact tracing.
Ahead of reports of new cases of COVID-19 in Brisbane this week, 21 consumers had already joined forces with Department and health staff, Queenslanders with Disability Network and Palliative Care Queensland at a Consumer Conversation on Tuesday to share their views on the top barriers to testing and what can be done to address these and encourage more people to get tested.
During the conversation, it was clear that consumers are looking for a clear and unambiguous testing pathway which is convenient, supportive, nuanced and needs-focused. Yet fear, uncertainty, confusion, misinterpretation and complacency are rife.
Specifically, consumers identified the following ongoing barriers to testing:
- Difficulty interpreting advice about symptoms
- Unclear testing pathways
- The logistics of having a test and managing the consequences are too complicated and overwhelming
- The need to self-isolate (for several days in rural areas) while awaiting results
- Pain and trauma associated with testing
- Perceived lack of social responsibility amongst certain groups of people
- Fear of stigma and retribution if people do test positive