Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones outside Byron Central Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Mr Jones has announced new measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones outside Byron Central Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Mr Jones has announced new measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

LOCAL 'HOT SPOT': Anyone with flu symptoms should get tested

HEALTH authorities are urging Byron Shire residents with flu-like symptoms, and backpackers in particular, to come forward and get tested for COVID-19.

This comes as NSW Health expands its coronavirus testing to 13 hot spots across the state in a bid to curb the rise of mystery community transmissions.

On Monday, Byron was named as an area where there has been evidence of some local transmission. There are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Byron.

A free testing clinic has been established at the Byron Central Hospital, or residents can arrange a test by calling their GP and booking an appointment.

Health district chief executive Wayne Jones said testing was free for all members of the community, including backpackers.

Testing had been previously restricted to only symptomatic people who had returned from overseas, those who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases or healthcare workers.

These restrictions still apply to residents of other local government areas in the Northern NSW Local Health District.

Meanwhile, Mr Jones has reinforced the premier's message to Queenslanders and other potential holiday-makers this Easter.

"The premier has been abundantly clear," Mr Jones said.

"The strong messaging to people is stay home, do not come to the North Coast.

"The police will have a very strong presence on the North Coast."

He also confirmed there was an anomaly in the figures on the NSW Health website, and there are seven confirmed cases in the Ballina shire, not between one and four.


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