HUNTER NEW England Health (HNEH) has ramped up COVID-19 tests ahead of the NRL Knights versus NZ Warriors clash at Tamworth's Scully Park.
A pop-up clinic that opened at Tamworth Hospital today will increase tests ahead of the big game on Saturday to avoid a McDonald Jones Stadium repeat.
The district's COVID-19 public health controller Dr David Durrheim has called on locals to miss the game, get tested and self-isolate if they have even the mildest symptoms.
"It's a very exciting time for NRL fans in the New England region with the Warriors playing against this Knights this weekend in Tamworth," he said.
"What's very important though is that we make it as safe as possible so we don't spread COVID at the event.
"So anybody with any symptoms, no matter how trivial they may seem from a cough, a sore throat or shortness of breath; please don't go to the game."
The pop-up drive-thru clinic will be open seven days a week both this week and next at Ring Road, bookings must be made in advance at 1800 881 568.
West Tamworth Leagues Club chief executive Rod Laing said the extra clinic would help boost community confidence in the stadium's COVIDSafe plan.
"None of us have any say if and when COVID-19 comes into our community, it's something we cannot see," he said.
"But obviously whatever Hunter New England Health can do we support 100 per cent, it's a good measure because it reassures the people in Tamworth and the district after we have been COVID-19 free for four months.
"The game is open to 25 per cent of our normal capacity and ongoing cleaning will go on around the clock when the gates open with a specialist team cleaning bathrooms throughout the afternoon."
The clash sold out during pre-sale which went to Warriors 2340 and Wests Tamworth Leagues Club members first.
There were only 2000 tickets available and anyone from south of Maitland, including Newcastle, were excluded from attending the game.
Mr Laing said there were a lot of disappointed people but anyone travelling up from Newcastle to the game "had no chance".
"We had to have the NRL sign off on our COVIDSafe plan and apparently it happened with the Newcastle stadium excluding people from Sydney," he said.
"I'm looking forward to a successful event, we are working with Hunter New England Health and what they are doing for this weekend is more reassurance.
"It's fantastic news."