A QUIET weekend is expected in Moree as hundreds are forced into COVID-19 isolation, await test results or voluntarily stay home to stop the spread.
Moree Plains Shire mayor Katrina Humphries said she hoped extra resources would be deployed to the town as the case count continues to climb.
The shire has more than 50 active cases residing there after the new numbers were announced on Friday morning.
No new exposure sites in town had been officially listed by Friday evening but Cr Humphries said despite the lag in health information, residents of the town were looking after each other and had been proactive in notifying the community of their test results and whereabouts.
While hundreds are in isolation, council urged all other locals to voluntarily stay home where possible to stop the spread in the community.
Cr Humphries said the streets of Moree were very quiet on Friday evening.
The Jellicoe markets scheduled for Sunday have been cancelled amid the case explosion.
Testing numbers have soared in Moree and elsewhere across the region as health authorities urge locals to seek a swab if even mild symptoms crop up.
More than 500 tests have been taken in Tamworth almost every day for the past week, with a spike of more than 1000 on Thursday last week and 900 on Friday, according to Hunter New England Health (HNEH) data.
Moree statistics surged from about 148 tests on Monday to more than 400 on Tuesday and on Wednesday.
THE COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen across the region with new cases clocked in Moree, Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell in the latest update.
There have been 15 additional positive COVID cases detected in the Moree community with 12 in Moree, one in Boggabilla, one in Garah and one in Pallamallawa.
Six new cases were added in Tamworth, with patients residing in West Tamworth, South Tamworth and Tamworth.
Three new infections were uncovered in Inverell, with two of them located in Tingha, and one new case was found in Armidale in the latest reporting period.
No new cases were reported in Gunnedah or elsewhere in the New England North West.
A new walk-in COVID-19 screening station has been launched in Tingha as the tiny town's outbreak continues to climb. Anyone can seek a swab at the town hall in Ruby Street on Friday until 5pm.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall reported on Friday that there were 54 active cases in the Moree local government area but "thankfully" not one of those had been hospitalised.
Moree Secondary College has been closed after a member of the school community tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr Marshall said the Moree situation is simply what "living with COVID-19 looks like".
"It is why such a huge effort was made to get everyone vaccinated, so that we could safely learn to live with and alongside this virus," he said.
"We need to be on alert, but certainly not alarmed and look out for each other.
"Mask up, be aware of even the most mild symptoms and get tested.
"Together we can continue to live, work and play alongside and with COVID-19."
Mr Marshall thanked local health professionals, police and other agencies for their efforts and announced additional support had been provided to Moree.
Moree Plains Shire mayor Katrina Humphries has asked residents to voluntarily "get off the streets" in an effort to give the community a chance to beat the virus.
Health authorities have continued to urge people in the Moree area to get tested and be very vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, and get vaccinated.
No further exposure sites have been listed anywhere across the local area but hundreds of people are in isolation after attending events in Moree last week that health authorities believe were "super-spreaders".
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the sudden announcement late on Thursday that from Friday, November 5, Moree Plains Shire local government area would be declared a restricted border zone and residents would be barred from entering the sunshine state.
There were 73 new COVID-19 cases in the Hunter New England Health (HNEH) area in the Friday update and 249 added across the state, along with three deaths.
Find out where to get tested, where to get vaccinated, and all the exposure sites across the region here.
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Anna Falkenmire is a senior journalist at the Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth, reporting mostly on court and crime. Story tips are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can keep up with her stories via @annafalky on Twitter.
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