Tamworth's COVID-19 respiratory clinic could double its capacity for coronavirus testing, after last week's end to the city's COVID-19 testing blitz.
Over 3,200 Tamworth residents were tested by Hunter New England's drive-through clinic, which was closed on Friday. Not one of them tested positive to the deadly pandemic virus.
An additional 1,100 people were tested at Armidale's clinic. The massive regional blitz was conducted over just three weeks.
After extending it twice, HNEH finally called an end to the testing campaign on Friday.
As a result the city's specialist respiratory testing clinic is considering stepping up its testing regime.
- City marks 31 days with no new COVID-19 cases diagnosed, despite widespread testing
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- Tamworth and Armidale hospital COVID-19 clinics close; Gunnedah, Glen Innes, Inverell to get screening services
Dr Vasuki Annamalai, clinical lead for the Goonoo Goonoo Road clinic, said yesterday they had been fully booked on Monday and were likely to be chock-a-block Tuesday as well.
She said they were considering opening a second testing room in order to double their daily capacity to nearly 50 if demand proved consistent.
"It's all about testing and making sure if there are positives [cases of COVID-19] we find the positives and treat them accordingly," she said.
Meanwhile the HNEH blitz campaign has moved on to smaller towns, with testing clinics now operating at the Glen Innes and Inverell hospitals, with the Gunnedah clinic to open on Monday.
HNEH chief public health controller Dr David Durrheim they didn't expect to find "big numbers of cases or indeed many at all" in the smaller towns but encouraged anyone with even mild symptoms of cold or flu to get tested.
"These communities have done an amazing job increasing testing rates to give us a better picture of whether the virus is currently being transmitted in the community," he said.
"It's good news but there is a possibility the virus can be reintroduced so there is still a need for vigilance with social distancing, good hygiene and testing to continue for anyone with symptoms, especially as restrictions ease."
Dr Durrheim said anyone who is exhibiting symptoms should isolate at home until they have received further advice from their GP or local hospital. Tests can take up to 72 hours to be processed.
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