THE CITY'S first COVID-19 respiratory clinic will open its doors this week.
The clinic allows people who suspect they may have coronavirus to seek treatment outside their GP and Tamworth Hospital, to help keep others safe.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce took a tour of the facility with North West Health doctor Fariba Barazandeh, who will be part of a vital team of medical professionals putting themselves at risk to protect the community.
"We have been fighting for extra resources for the city of Tamworth and the New England," Mr Joyce said.
"I am too aware of the stresses and the workload put on major hospitals, it's vitally important we remove that workload, spread it around and give people the opportunity if they do think they have the disease to go to an area that's properly set up for that.
"As much as we can, we don't want someone who suspects they have COVID-19 to be sitting in a waiting room next to someone with a broken arm."
The clinic has had a number of false starts as staff waited on infection control training and the final fit-out to be completed at the Goonoo Goonoo Road facility.
It will officially open to patients on Thursday, with at least three consultation rooms, separate spaces for staff to put on and remove personal protective equipment and a shower to ensure they don't take the potentially deadly disease home with them.
When patients arrive, they will be asked to put on PPE in the carpark before they go inside to see a doctor, who will help them with management strategies for respiratory symptoms at home.
It will service COVID-19 patients down to Scone, up to Inverell and give people locally an alternative to the emergency department.
The GP clinic will be run by North West Health with the backing of the Primary Health Network and the service will be bulk-billed.
Dr Barazandeh was given infection control training by Aspen Medical, the same organisation chosen to deal with the Ruby Princess cruise ship outbreak.
"The training was about the hygienic aspects, how to minimise the risks of transferring the virus to the other staff and the patients as well," she said.
"We can transfer that education to our patients as well so they can protect themselves.
"We didn't have that experience before so it was good training and I'm sure that we will learn more down the track."
The clinic will be open from 8:30 to 4pm everyday initially, the clinic is located at 255A Goonoo Goonoo Road, opposite the petrol station.