DESPITE another day of zero new cases of COVID-19 in the Tamworth and Gunnedah local government areas, local authorities have warned the community not to become complacent.
Concerning low testing numbers, sewage testing results that "are not conclusive" and long waiting times to receive COVID-19 test results has seen a renewed push for locals to get vaccinated and stay at home.
Oxley police are cracking down on people breaching public health orders, with increased fines and a ramped up police presence.
Over the weekend, 15 people were hit with infringement notices for breaching stay at home orders, including two men who visited the region from Sydney.
'Vaccination is the key to our freedom': Tamworth MP ramps up push for community to get the jab
ABOUT 1000 people in the Tamworth LGA rolled up their sleeves to get the AstraZeneca jab at the weekend, and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has renewed his push for more to come forward.
Conversations are continuing about setting up a mass COVID-19 vaccination hub in Tamworth and Gunnedah, the MP said.
The Tamworth Sports Dome and Gunnedah Rural Health Centre are being explored as potential locations for the vaccination hubs.
The plans come after a successful pop-up vaccination centre at the University of New England medical centre in Armidale on the weekend saw 565 people get the jab.
"The western section of Bourke, Walgett and Dubbo is in a lot of strife, so we want to make sure we protect our communities and by doing that, it's getting vaccinated," Mr Anderson said.
"The focus is also on Gunnedah, it has a real lack of GPs so to be able to provide a vaccination hub for the people in and around Gunnedah is very important."
The local MP also welcomed news that pharmacies across the electorate will start administering AstraZeneca doses to the public this week.
"Vaccination is the key to our freedom, there's no doubt about that," he added.
"The message still is very clear that we do need to abide by the public health orders, we do need to stay home, we do need to make sure we do everything we can to keep our communities safe.
"People are doing the right thing which is very pleasing to see, over the weekend the town was very quiet, our whole region was very quiet."
Tamworth LGA's lockdown will continue until 12.01am, Sunday, August 22 after all of regional NSW was placed under lockdown orders on Saturday, replacing Tamworth's existing stay-at-home orders.
Oxley Police catch 15 people breaching public health orders at the weekend, tough new fines introduced
OXLEY police were out in force at the weekend, with 15 infringement notices issued to people breaching stay at home orders.
Oxley Police District commander Superintendent Kylie Endemi said two of those notices included two separate men from the who had entered the region from greater metropolitan Sydney.
"They weren't able to provide a reasonable excuse for doing so. Both of them were issued with on the spot infringement notices and they were both directed back to Sydney," she said.
Infringement notices were issued in Tamworth, Gunnedah and Narrabri.
Locals have also been slapped with increased fines for doing the wrong thing in attempt to encourage compliance.
The fine for breaching the two person exercise rule has now increased to $3000, and the fine for breaching isolation requirements is now $5000.
"It's designed to deter people, to get people to do the right thing and comply with those public health orders," Superintendent Endemi said.
Oxley police entered Operation Stay at Home at midnight last night, in attempt to "bolster efforts in regards to high visibility presence".
"We make the plea to people right across our communities to please continue to do the right thing. By and large most people are doing just that," Superintendent Endemi added.
Sewage testing results not conclusive, Tamworth mayor warns
DESPITE testing efforts finding no traces of COVID-19 in Tamworth sewage on Monday, Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) mayor Col Murray has warned the community not to become complacent.
The results are indicative, but not conclusive, and the community needs to be "very careful", the mayor said.
"We are very pleased we don't have any reported cases in the city or region at the moment and that's how we want to keep it," he said.
He joined Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson in urging the community to continue to come forward and get vaccinated to protect everyone from the spread of the virus.
"There are opportunities there and if anyone is having difficulty getting AstraZeneca just keep trying," he said.
"There is a bit of personal responsibility involved in the solution for our city.
"We know there's a supply issue with the Pfizer and we ask people to be a little bit patient, we understand there are supplies not too far away now."
Low testing numbers mean the COVID-19 testing centre at AELEC will no longer be open to the public, but the centre located in Plain Street carpark will continue to operate.
"I am disappointed but not with the facility closing, it's with the people not coming forward to get tested," Cr Murray said.
"It is a reality and that's one of the harsh things about this pandemic, there are no rules about it and it is taking a long time to get test results back but that can't diminish the personal responsibility to get tested.
"Just get yourself tested, it's so important that we do that."
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