'All of Picton's here': Mass rush for COVID-19 tests at pop-up clinic

A queue of cars more than two kilometres long has formed at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Picton, after the town hotel was named a probable virus hotspot.

The queue has formed on the roadside and is not affecting traffic but is slow-moving, with those at the head reporting a wait of more than three hours.

The Picton Hotel was closed for cleaning on Monday after a patron tested positive for the virus.

The same patron is among 21 cases linked to an outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, on or around July 3.

I've been queued here since 8.15am. All of Picton's here. I feel sorry for the rest of them back there. I've got a twin brother (also queued). He'll be waiting about five hours, I reckon.

Among those nearing the front of Tuesday's queue about 11.30am was Jordie Bargallie, a regular visitor to the Picton Hotel, where health authorities have confirmed the infected person visited the gaming room on July 4, 9 and 10.

The 21-year-old was at the hotel on one of those dates.

He said he was symptom- free, but wondered whether he could have crossed paths with the infected person.

Jordie Bargallie waits in the queue to get tested for COVID-19 in Picton.

Jordie Bargallie waits in the queue to get tested for COVID-19 in Picton.

"I went through the gaming room to go to the toilet," he said. "When I heard [about the new outbreak] I thought, 'here we go again'. It sucks."

Mr Bargallie's boss sent him to get tested at Campbelltown Hospital on Monday, but he said he found the line there too long, with people too closely crammed.

"I've been queued here since 8.15am. All of Picton's here," he said. "I feel sorry for the rest of them back there. I've got a twin brother (also queued). He'll be waiting about five hours, I reckon."

Public servant Karen was headed to work in Sydney earlier this morning when she heard one of the places she had recently visited - Natellan town centre - had been linked to the outbreak.

Waiting: Truck-driver Aaron McKey.

Waiting: Truck-driver Aaron McKey.

"I turned right around and came back," said Karen, who worries her sore throat may be a first sign of the virus. Another in the queue, truck-driver Aaron McKey, said he hadn't been to any likely virus hotspots but still needed a test.

"I'm not allowed back to work until I get tested," he said.

The Picton drive-through testing clinic is at Victoria Park, otherwise known as Picton Showground, at 185 Menangle Street, Picton. Open 8.30am-6pm, until Saturday.

Meantime, the hotel remained closed on Tuesday after undergoing a deep clean.

The only sign of life at lunchtime was long-term upstairs residents John Kirkham and Steve Billington departing their homes, en route to the doctor's clinic.

The pair said they probably visited the downstairs hotel space twice during the period now flagged by heath authorities. But incredibly, their efforts to get tested have so far failed. =

"Yesterday we went to the doctor's at Picton Mall," Mr Kirkham said.

"They refused to test me because I don't have any symptoms "We went to [today's] pop-up clinic. They wouldn't test us because we weren't in a car.

"I rang the doctor's and said, 'this is crazy'. "They [authorities] keep telling us, 'you need to get a test'. But no one will give us testing.

"If I get on public transport, then I do test positive, then I've infected other people.

"I'm sorry if I sound cynical, but it's really stupid."

The men said the operators at Picton Hotel had taken all precautions to guard against the spread of the virus.

"They do look after social distancing. The licensee is very good, she makes sure everyone stays apart."

This story 'All of Picton's here': Mass rush for tests after pub named likely virus hotspot first appeared on Camden-Narellan Advertiser.