A COVID-19 clinic has been running at Byron Central Hospital.
A COVID-19 clinic has been running at Byron Central Hospital.

Testing expansion may lead to increased COVID-19 numbers

IT IS now easier than ever to get tested for COVID-19, meaning more cases will likely be picked up in the coming weeks.

After a successful week with just five new cases locally, bringing the total to 56 as of Thursday at 8pm, Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive, Wayne Jones, said his staff are expecting a possible increase in case numbers.

On Wednesday, NSW Health widened its testing criteria to include anyone with symptoms, as daily testing numbers continue to drop and cases of community transmission remain a concern for health officials.

Byron Bay has been identified as an area of increased risk for community transmission.

Regardless of where you live in NSW, if you have a cough, temperature or sore throat, you should get tested for coronavirus.

“We’ve increased our testing volume, so we may see increases — we’ll identify cases we’re not seeing yet,” Mr Jones said.

He welcomed the testing expansion, and said it would help to prevent community transmission.

Meanwhile, government restrictions are having a positive impact on our emergency units, and giving staff the time and resources to adapt to the current crisis.

There has been a 30 per cent reduction in presentations to emergency departments at local hospitals.

“The isolation and restrictions have obliterated the ‘weekend warrior’ concept we see when sports are on,” Mr Jones said.

“There has been a reduction in motor vehicle accidents, with less cars on the road.”

Mr Jones said he was pleased with the community’s efforts.

“We are seeing a good suppression of overseas-acquired and community-acquired cases,” he said.

“It just reflects everyone’s working hard at isolation, good hygiene practices and social distancing.”


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