800 Northern NSW residents get tested for COVID
Update 4.50pm: More than 800 people have turned out to get tested at clinics in Northern NSW in the first 24 hours since Byron Bay locations were listed as a COVID-19 concern.
Additional testing clinics and expanded hours are providing extra opportunities for people in Northern NSW to come forward for COVID-19 testing following recent COVID-19 cases in Queensland.
"The response from our community, right across the region, has been outstanding so far. We thank everyone who is taking heed of the latest public health advice," NNSWLHD Chief Executive, Wayne Jones said.
"From the Tweed border right down to Grafton we've seen a positive turnout of people coming forward for testing, and we expect to see these numbers increase even further, as more tests are notified to NSW Health.
"It's imperative that people continue to use the QR check-in codes at every venue or business they visit, as that allows the contact tracers to follow up anyone who may have been at a location of concern.
"Please check the Queensland Health website and the NSW Government websites regularly for updated locations, particularly over the next few days as this situation evolves."
Northern NSW Local Health District has extended the opening hours of the four hospital-based testing clinics in Lismore, Grafton, Byron and Tweed, which are now open from 9.00am - 6.30pm seven days a week.
Additional clinics have been set up in the region:
• Byron Bay QML Pathology Drive-Through, Cavanbah Sports Ground, 249 Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay. Open from 8am to 8pm Monday -Sunday. No referral required.
• Byron Bay Walk-in Pop-Up Clinic; Byron Bay surf club, Bay St, Byron Bay. Open from 9am - 5pm. No appointment required.
• Lennox Head QML Pathology Drive-through clinic, Lennox Community Centre, Cnr Park Lane and Mackney Lane, 8am - 8pm Monday - Sunday. No GP referral required.
• Tweed Heads QML Pathology Drive-through clinic, Cnr Wharf and Florence Street, Tweed Heads, 8am - 8pm Monday -Sunday. No GP referral required.
• Lismore QML Pathology Drive - through clinic, 354 Keen Street, Lismore 8am - 7pm, open from this afternoon.
Staff and visitors to hospitals and health facilities in Northern NSW are now required to wear a mask as part of added precautions to reduce any risk of transmission.
"Our staff are doing a fantastic job and we're exceptionally thankful for their continued efforts, especially as the response continues to evolve and change," Mr Jones said.
Original: People have been spotted lining up around the corner of the Lismore Base Hospital this morning in order to get tested for COVID-19, after several Byron Bay locations were listed as potential hot spots.
After the announcement that two COVID-19 infected patients recently visited several locations in Byron Bay, the NSW Government is encouraging people who have been in those areas should get tested.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said anyone in NSW who had visited Greater Brisbane since March 20 should stick to the same restrictions Brisbane has been placed under.
And the people seem to be listening, with lines wrapping around the corner of Lismore Base Hospital on Tuesday morning as people patiently wait to be tested.
However, there's been reports from Byron Bay that people were turned away because the clinics were closing at 5pm and they'd have to come back today.
It is understood Byron's Cavanbah Centre was busy with people waiting to be tested early this morning, but the numbers there have eased.
But the good news is that it is understood there will be more clinics opening in the coming days.
NSW health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on Monday more than 14 services are ready to support COVID testing on the Northern Rivers and Tweed areas.
The Northern NSW Local Health District has been contacted for comment.
Here's the full list of where you can currently get tested on the Northern Rivers.