Respiratory specialists at Wagga Base Hospital have shared frustration over the slow turnaround of COVID-19 results.
Patients have been left in anxious wait for days following their testing.
Associate Professor Tara McKenzie is one of four respiratory clinicians on rotation in the hospital's COVID-19 ward.
She said it would be weeks before the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) might see a significant pick-up in testing turnaround.
"At the moment, we have two ways of testing patients," Professor McKenzie said.
"The standard one, which is where the swabs are sent to Sydney, [has] a two-to-three day wait for a result."
The wait time has dropped slightly since the Sydney laboratory moved from 12-hour shifts to now working around-the-clock.
But Professor McKenzie is still pushing for the test times to be made much quicker and sees an opportunity for the hospital to process local tests on its own.
"We had tried to get our own local on-site [facility] but as you can imagine there's very limited supply for the whole country," she said.
"We share the frustration of the community, and we do thank [residents] for their patience, but at this stage my understanding is that we're weeks away from having our own local six-to-eight hour tests."
In rare cases, the hospital does have the capacity to test a patient that requires an immediate result within the hour. But these tests will not be made widely available.
"As of this week, we have the same test that you would have seen at St Vincent's [Hospital] in Sydney, which is the 45-minute rapid test," Professor McKenzie said.
"We have very few of them and they are being very, very carefully used. But it means if you have a very sick patient who can't have a test they need because they're not cleared from COVID, we can clear them within 45 minutes."
It comes after consistent calls for increased testing, with an encouragement for anyone with COVID-like symptoms to come forward.
Up to 1 per cent of the MLHD's population area has now been tested for the virus, as the total was brought to 3287 people tested by Friday morning.
"In the community, people with symptoms, don't hesitate to be tested," Professor McKenzie said.
"Even if they think they don't have it, and they're probably right, they're actually helping their community to know what our numbers are.
"When we do start to release the social distancing and isolation, we're going to need that data to know when it's safe."
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