COVID-19 arrived in the Northern Tablelands by train last month.
Among the passengers on the Explorer from Sydney just before the last weekend of March were an Inverell couple, and an Armidale resident, all returning home.
Aged in their 80s, the Inverell couple had been on a cruise, spending a holiday on the Voyager of the Seas, which had docked in Sydney on March 19. That was the same day passengers got off the Ruby Princess at Circular Quay.
After departing the train at Armidale, the Inverell couple caught the CountryLink bus home.
Two days later, on Saturday, March 21, they were tested for the coronavirus. Both tests would come back positive the following Tuesday.
Five days after those two positive tests, Armidale had its first case.
It was a passenger from the Explorer who it is believed caught the coronavirus from the Inverell couple.
In between the Inverell and Armidale cases were a couple from Emmaville near Glen Innes, who had been passengers on the Ruby Princess.
In that same time, Inverell had another case, after 19 people returned from a group trip to Egypt. Fortunately, no other member of the group returned a positive test.
Since then there have been a case in Uralla, and two more in Armidale, which were both linked to the Department of Family and Community Services office in the city.
It is still not known how the first case in that office was contracted, but it's suspected they passed it on to a colleague, which does explain the second case.
The office was immediately closed for 24 hours following the two positive tests, and underwent a forensic cleaning operation.
The office's remaining 19 employees were tested. Seventeen have come back clear, and have returned to work.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall spoke to the media on Thursday morning, and said he was hopeful the other two would also prove to be negative.
"The health authorities suspect those two were false positives, and those two individuals have been tested again," Mr Marshall said.
In the meantime they are both isolated in their homes.
"We are waiting on the secondary test results, and we should have those sometime today or early tomorrow."
Of the eight cases in the region, five people have since recovered from the virus.
Mr Marshall thanked all the communities for adhering to the restrictions in place. Although it's not true in all cases. Local police have issued two infringement notices, and 62 warnings, to people who have left home for non essential reasons, or have gathered in groups.
The good news is the number of new COVID-19 cases is decreasing.
"Across the state, across the country, and right here in our region, we are seeing less and less new cases being discovered, despite the fact we are doing more and more testing each day," Mr Marshall said.
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