TESTING for coronavirus in Tamworth is set to peak this week with a drive-through clinic launching at Tamworth hospital on Monday.
With only 86 COVID-19 tests conducted across the city in the past month, the goal of Hunter New England Health (HNEH) is to do "several hundred" tests this week.
Tamworth recorded one new case of coronavirus over the weekend, according to the latest statistics from NSW Health, taking the total number of cases in the area to 14.
One woman died in Tamworth hospital earlier this month from coronavirus complications.
HNEH public health physician Dr Craig Dalton said more testing is needed in Tamworth to map the spread of the deadly virus.
"Tamworth is ... an important town, a regional centre, that should be monitored under close surveillance," he told the Leader on Monday.
"We don't have a specific goal daily but over the next week we'd certainly like to see several hundred tests done up there because it's a big town, and there should be hundreds of tests done in the area over the week if we're going to track down any mild cases that could be out there in the community."
Dr Dalton said community uptake in Tamworth had been promising, and it's only day one.
"We know that the rates are dropping rapidly, but there could still be cases out there so we're just trying to, particularly during these weeks, trying to find any case we can," he said.
A number of mystery COVID-19 cases with an unknown source of infection under investigation in the New England North West, including at least one case in each of the Tamworth, Moree, Gunnedah, Tenterfield and Armidale local government areas, has prompted the need for more testing.
Dr Dalton said anyone with any form of respiratory symptom or cough or cold symptom should call and arrange a test - even if it's so mild you wouldn't even see a doctor.
He said the attitude of 'it won't happen to me' doesn't cut it.
"Many of the mild cases are completely surprised - so if there's anyone out there that would be completely surprised if they had COVID-19, and they have any symptom, they probably should go and get a test," he said.
The Tamworth clinic is set up in 'Carpark E' at Tamworth hospital and is run by trained local staff operating a drive-through facility.
Dr Dalton had some advice for people who might be nervous about getting a test: "It's natural to be nervous about something unusual that you haven't dealt with before, but it's a very simple procedure, results come back in a couple of days and it's just one of those things - its better to know than not to know."
The specialised clinic is set to operate from 9am to 4pm daily until Sunday, May 3. HNEH said people should call 1800 881 568 to arrange a testing time.
There is another testing blitz getting underway in Armidale this week.
The HNEH district is sitting stable at 280 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the latest data from NSW Health.
The health authority's statistics show there have been more than 21,000 tests done in the local health district, with 1.28 per cent returning positive for the COVID-19 infection.
Across the state, there were only two new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday, according to NSW Health.
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