TESTING clinics for COVID-19 will open in Tamworth and Armidale on Monday as Hunter New England Health (HNEH) launches a week-long testing blitz in the two cities.
Specialised drive-through clinics at the Tamworth and Armidale hospitals will open, with the testing blitz set to start first thing Monday morning.
It comes amid a new infection that was announced on Sunday. NSW Health confirmed Tamworth's case count had risen to 14, after a new confirmed case in the testing in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.
Health authorities are yet to release any details on the patient or their condition.
HNEH hasn't yet been able to trace the source of infection for a number of coronavirus cases in the New England North West, which has prompted the need for increased testing.
Health authorities are still working to uncover where a woman who died in Tamworth hospital earlier this month - the first COVID-19 death in the region - contracted the deadly virus.
There is at least one patient in each of the Moree, Tamworth, Armidale, Tenterfield and Gunnedah local government areas that has an unknown source of infection.
With case numbers stabilising across the entire health district, HNEH said it is targeting areas with relatively low testing rates to try and map the occurance and spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Public health physician Dr David Durrheim said the only way to rule out a COVID-19 problem is to test people.
"Our goal for blitz week is to push testing rates as high as possible so we can be absolutely sure there is no COVID-19 risk for the people in these towns. We don't expect to find big numbers of cases - or indeed many at all - but testing is the only way we will know for sure," he said.
Dr Durrheim said locals showing symptoms of the infection like a fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath should get tested.
Residents who have been overseas, on a cruise ship or in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case should also get tested.
The blitz will start on this week in both Tamworth and Armidale.
"If you don't have symptoms or risk factors but are concerned about your health, you can also contact your local clinic to arrange testing," Dr Durrheim said.
The Tamworth clinic will operate between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Sunday May 3.
HNEH have asked people to call 1800 881 568 during testing hours to register before attending the clinic.
The Armidale clinic will be open from 10am to 2pm on Monday through to Friday May 1.
HNEH have asked people to call 0427 923 080 between 9am and 4:30pm on testing days, to register before attending.
The drive-through clinics are expected to be available for a limited time period, but could be extended depending on demand.
Authorities have asked anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate at home until they have received further advice from their GP or hospital.
Moree has also been the target of a testing blitz recently.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.