COVID-19 testing needs to increase to keep virus at bay
THE rate of COVID-19 testing being done in northern NSW has significantly slowed in recent weeks which has the boss of the local health district, Wayne Jones, worried we won't be able to keep the "pandemic at bay".
With tens of thousands of visitors here for the school holidays, he wants locals and visitors alike to seek a test even if they are displaying the mildest of symptoms.
In a statement issued on Friday, he said in the preceding seven days only 1,345 people came forward for testing, but hopes that figure would more than double to 3500 during the holidays.
Mr Jones, who is Chief Executive of the Northern NSW Local Health District, urged everyone to get tested early if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and for locals and visitors alike to wear a mask on public transport, ride share, taxis, shopping, places of worship and other places where you can't physically distance.
"Maintaining our COVID vigilance during the school holidays is vital to support the great position we currently are in," Mr Jones said.
"Testing numbers have declined in recent weeks and we are appealing to the community to come forward for testing right away if you have a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19.
"If people don't come forward and get tested, we can't keep the pandemic at bay.
"With extra visitors coming to our region, and more of us catching up with friends and getting out and about, it is more important than ever to get a COVID test."
The health district is encouraging all residents and visitors to:
• If you are unwell, get tested and isolate right away - don't delay.
• 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 on public transport, ride share, taxis, shopping, places of worship and other places where you can't physically distance.
COVID-19 testing clinics can be found here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or call your GP.