From the Newsroom

Clarence Valley residents lined up at the Grafton Base Hospital last week to get a Covid-19 test after it was revealed a positive case visited the Northern Rivers region. Image: Emma Pritchard

Residents thanked for coming forward for testing

Communities throughout the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) have been praised for coming forward in large numbers for testing after a positive case of Covid-19 was reported in the region earlier this month when a man from Sydney breached the Public Health Order and visited the Northern Rivers.

NNSWLHD Acting Chief Executive Lynne Weir revealed between August 10 – 12, there were 7299 tests conducted across four hospital-based testing clinics and six drive through clinics from Tweed Heads to Grafton.

2837 tests were conducted on August 10, 2317 on August 11 and 2145 on August 12.

These figures do not include the multiple other pathology, respiratory and GP testing clinics.

“We are extremely pleased with the high numbers of people turning out for testing across our region at the moment,” Ms Weir said.

“When you consider that in recent weeks, testing numbers have been up around 9,000 a week, these numbers we’re seeing at the moment are really encouraging.”

While Ms Weir acknowledged there have been some longer lines at clinics throughout the district, she said residents receive their results within 24-48 hours.

“As has been the case throughout this pandemic, our public health response relies on immense team efforts, and we commend health staff right across the district on the commitment and skills they bring to work each day,” she said.

Clarence Valley residents lined up at local testing sites including Grafton Base Hospital and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Yamba.

A Grafton woman who asked to remain anonymous, praised staff at Grafton Base Hospital for their amazing efforts as the queue to get tested stretched out to Arthur Street on August 10.

“I went to get tested early in the morning after I heard about the community exposure in Byron Bay, and the staff were so great,” she said.

“I thought the people were waiting in line were also well behaved.

“I went to get tested because I had been visiting friends in Byron Bay.

“It was the right thing to do.”

Ms Weir is urging anyone who has even the mildest of symptoms including a runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, fever, nausea, diarrhoea, loss of smell or taste, fatigue or muscular cramps to get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

“If you have been given specific advice by NSW Health, for example as a result of being a close contact of a confirmed case, please follow that advice to the letter,” Ms Weir said.

Ms Weir said it is important communities in the NNSWLHD follow the current health advice.

NSW remains in lockdown until 12:01am on August 22 to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further across regional areas of the state.