Thanks to funding from the federal government, communities in rural and remote areas will now have better access to health services should an outbreak of COVID-19 occur.
The $52.8 million aeromedical retrieval package to the Royal Flying Doctor Service is part of the government's health pandemic response and was announced at the Dubbo base by Federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton on Monday.
The funding will allow the RFDS to evacuate initial COVID-19 cases, evacuate suspected cases, plus deliver fly-in general practitioner respiratory clinics and replenish protective equipment for frontline medical staff.
Nationally, the RFDS have transported over 170 suspected and confirmed cases. RFDS chief medical officer Dr Randall Greenberg said the Dubbo base has retrieved four suspected cases.
"None of them have turned out to be confirmed but you have to treat them exactly the same," he said.
The Western NSW Local Health District today has 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with six cases in the Dubbo Regional local government area.
"Western NSW are going well at the moment but we cannot let our guard down," Dr Greenberg said.
"Because all it takes is one person to infect a whole lot, then it breaks out. But I think everyone has been really good with the social distancing.
"The preparedness is also incredible with the hospital taking all of these preparations and putting a lot of resources into it and we here at the RFDS have put so much time and effort into training and practising, getting the right equipment and procedures."
Mr Coulton, is the Federal Member for the Parkes, said regional Australia has done really well during the coronavirus pandemic with minimal infection.
"And those infections we have treated and maintained very good control, but it's important we are prepared should we have an outbreak in any of our regional or very remote communities," he said.
Mr Coulton said the funding provides comfort to those in rural and remote areas that should an outbreak occur, with services available to help in times of need.
The government's package also includes funding for CareFlight for other state and territory aeromedical departments to enable evacuations.
The funding is part of the government's $2.4 billion National Health Response Plan to COVID-19.