COMMUNITY transmission of COVID-19 in the Tamworth area is one of the "main drivers" behind a testing blitz in town this week.
Since the pandemic broke out, the Leader can reveal two patients in the Tamworth local government area (LGA) had an unknown source of infection.
Hunter New England Health (HNEH) public health physician Dr David Durrheim said the authority "hit a brick wall" trying to find where the two locals caught the deadly virus.
"The fact that we've had two unknown source cases in the Tamworth area, so two people where we couldn't find their source, means that we want to be 100 per cent sure that it's not circulating in the community, and that's the real reason for the testing drive," he told the Leader.
HNEH has set up a drive-through testing clinic at Tamworth hospital and began swabbing locals on Monday, with the aim to do several hundred tests by Sunday.
"We're really hunting to see the virus, we want to test as many people as possible to prevent it from effectively being concealed anywhere in the community," Dr Durrheim said.
Dr Durrheim said the first mystery case of COVID-19 in Tamworth was detected on March 13, and said the most recent was a woman who began showing coronavirus symptoms on April 16.
The 58-year-old woman died of complications from the infection at Tamworth hospital on April 16, and her positive test result came back on April 17.
Dr Durrheim said the testing blitz and specialty clinic is also aimed at boosting the number of tests being done in areas with relatively low rates of testing.
At the latest update from NSW Health, the city had a total COVID-19 case count of 13, after a false increase over the weekend was corrected by NSW Health on Tuesday.
NSW Health data available to the public shows the LGAs which have cases of the virus with an unknown source of infection.
The statistics don't show exact numbers until an area clocks more than four of those cases.
At the latest update, Moree, Armidale, Tenterfield and Gunnedah also have at least one and up to four mystery cases of COVID-19.
The specialty clinic at Tamworth hospital is set up in car park E and will be open until Sunday, May 3.
HNEH said locals with any respiratory or cold-like symptom should call 1800 881 568 to book a test.
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