People across the New England North West are continuing to present to their local COVID-19 testing clinics and, as another week draws to a close, the region thankfully remains virus-free.
There were 21 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in NSW since Thursday evening, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 3,567.
Two of these were from the Hunter New England Health District (HNEH) - a Hunter man who has remained in hotel quarantine in Sydney since returning from overseas and a case from the family cluster in Port Stephens - however there are still no positive cases in the New England North West region, despite strong testing rates.
The high number of people presenting to be tested at the drive-through clinic in Armidale this week prompted HNEH to extend the service's operating hours.
A total of 103 people were tested at Armidale's drive-through clinic this week, bringing the total number of tests to 1238 since commencement.
Testing rates in Armidale are relatively strong, with 37 people per 1000 being tested in the past four weeks.
Inverell has a slightly higher testing rate, however, with 38 people per 1000 being tested in the last month. A total of 881 people have been tested in Inverell since testing began, and in the past week 81 have presented to the drive-through clinic.
In Glen Innes, 31 people per 1000 have been tested in the past month, with 40 people tested this week alone. All up 633 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Glen Innes.
While there have been fewer people presenting for testing in Moree overall, 25 tests per 1000 people in the last month, 60 people went to be tested for COVID-19 this week, bringing Moree's total to 616.
Only five people were tested in Tenterfield and Guyra's emergency departments this week, while none were tested in Walcha. There is currently not a dedicated COVID-19 clinic in each of these three towns, with testing attended in their emergency departments. However, this data does not include the number of people tested by their GP or private pathology providers.
Although there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in our region, with more outbreaks being identified in NSW, NSW Health said it is important to increase testing to ensure any new cases or outbreaks are identified and managed rapidly, to avoid a situation like Melbourne is currently facing.
Anyone with a cough, a sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste, loss of smell or a fever (37.5 degrees or higher) should be tested for COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild.
People who have been tested for COVID-19 are reminded to isolate until their test result returns a negative reading, or for the full 14-day self-isolation period if they test positive.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, NSW Health recommends:
- If you are unwell stay in, get tested and isolate
- Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with you when you go out
- Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and others
- Wear a mask in situations where you cannot physically distance
Armidale residents can be tested for COVID-19 at Armidale Hospital's drive-through clinic from 12pm to 3pm Monday to Friday, with people able to make a booking by calling 0427 923 080 between those hours.