A SIGNIFICANT spike in testing numbers after a COVID-19 scare in regional NSW has spread to Tamworth, with people lining up for hours to get a swab.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic was lined up all day at the city's drive-through testing clinic, with locals reporting a wait time of more than two-and-a-half hours.
The surge in people seeking a swab comes after two positive COVID-19 cases travelled a little too close to home while potentially infectious.
NSW Health announced the pair had stopped over for three days in Moree, about three hours north of Tamworth, while on a five-day roadtrip through regional NSW from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast.
It's understood the COVID couple did not visit Tamworth on their travels north.
Moree businesses have been forced to shut their doors for deep cleaning ahead of the long weekend, and hundreds of people have fronted up to get tested.
New COVID-19 screening centres were urgently opened in Moree on Thursday, but the Laverty clinic at Moree Gateway reached capacity not long after.
One Moree resident told the Leader she had waited more than six hours in her car for a COVID-19 test.
Moree Shire Council issued a call for more testing kits to be sent to the area so no one would need to be turned away from screening clinics.
Council said it was doing "everything possible" and was working with NSW Health to get more swab sets to Moree as soon as possible.
Hunter New England Health (HNEH) confirmed both the Moree hospital and the Laverty pathology site had supplies and were not turning people away on Thursday afternoon.
The authority said those people who had visited the five exposure sites would be prioritised.
"We have seen a tremendous response from the Moree community, turning out for testing in high numbers," the statement said.
NSW Health announced it had been made aware of a positive case of COVID-19 late on Wednesday, who had arrived in the sunshine state after a long drive through NSW. The authority confirmed the case's travel companion had also tested positive to the virus on Thursday.
The pair are thought to have been infectious when they stopped in Moree between June 3 and June 5.
NSW Health confirmed a list of exposure sites in the town including a clothing store, pub, cafe, supermarket and a caravan park with thermal pools.
The Omega Cafe and a the Amaroo Tavern were forced to turn away customers on Thursday after they were visited by the Melbourne couple last week. Their doors will remain closed while both premises are deep cleaned and staff are tested.
The Gwydir Thermal Pools Motel and Caravan Park was also visited by the pair, and the business announced it is working with NSW Health.
The state health authority said it is continuing to investigate the movements of the case in regional NSW, and will update the list of venues and times.
It is understood the Woolworths store visited by the couple remained open.
The Assef's clothing store was added to the list of exposure sites on Thursday night, along with a Coles Express service station in Coonabarabran.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said the announcement the COVID-positive pair had stopped in Moree on their roadtrip "shocked and saddened" the community.
"But, as usual, we will be totally responsible and get on with getting tested and staying safe and looking after each other," she said.
Testing sites and venue information can be found on the NSW Health website.
Moree has gone more than a year without a COVID case.
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