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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

By Tim Howard

A surge in COVID-19 tests on the NSW North Coast has not uncovered any new cases of the disease so far say a health authorities.
News a Sydney man had been at large on the North Coast for nearly two weeks sent a surge of Grafton residents into the fever clinic testing clinic set up at the Grafton Base Hospital.
Some people waited for more than an two hours for their test and were told they would have at least another 24 hours to wait before they received a result.
Northern NSW Local Health District acting CEO Lynne Weir said authorities were aware of new venues of concern and would release updated information for close-contact venues in the region.
She said anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed was a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Covid Test Grafton

People lined up for hours to get a COVID-19 test at the fever clinic at Grafton Base Hospital, following the revelation a 52-year-old Sydney man had been infectious on the North Coast for more than a week.

Ms Weir said NSW Health sent a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information.
“We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements,” she said.
“If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.
“If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
Ms Weir said NSW Health did not disclose details about venues of concern unless there was a public health reason.
When a confirmed COVID-19 case attended a venue while possibly infectious, NSW Health carried out a risk assessment on that venue to determine whether other people might have been exposed, and whether there is a public health risk.
Ms Weir said all people diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate to ensure there was no ongoing risk of infection to others in the community.
Close contacts are asked to get tested, and complete 14 days’ self-isolation, even if their initial test result is negative.
“It remains vital that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close or casual contact of a person with COVID-19, isolates and is tested immediately,” she said.
“When testing clinics are busy, please ensure you stay in line, identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms or are a contact of a case.”
Ms Weir thanked the many people in the community who came forward for testing in the past few days.
On Tuesday, August 10, more than 3000 tests were conducted at NSW Health and drive through clinics across the district, with many more conducted at other GP and respiratory clinics in the region.
She said there had been high sustained high testing rates in recent weeks, with 9,177 tests conducted among NNSWLHD residents in the first week of August.
All the local testing clinics and their opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and- others/clinics or, you can also contact your GP.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result. NSW Health sends a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information. We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements. If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.

COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

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Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

From 5pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021, residents of Tweed and Byron LGAs are ordered to stay-at-home for at least 7 days.

This order was confirmed by NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, during a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday morning.
The orders also apply to any person who has been in either of these affected LGAs since September 18, or in the Kempsey LGA since September 14.

Ballina has escaped the order, although fragments of Covid-19 virus were detected in sewage in Ballina and Wardell overnight.

The lockdown order follows the arrival of a Covid-19 positive man into the Northern Rivers region from Sydney on the weekend. Northern NSW Local Health District advised the man was infectious in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas between Saturday, September 18 and Monday, September 20, after landing at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport at 8:45am on Saturday direct from Sydney on Virgin flight VA 1141.

Hazzard said today the man had been authorised to travel to Northern NSW for work and was tested on arrival, however it was only after a second test health authorities discovered he was positive.

Everyone in Tweed and Byron LGAs must now stay at home unless for essential reasons including shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise, and work/tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home.

People can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation if all in the group aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed, said a strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if these stay-at-home orders are extended beyond a week.

“I encourage everyone with the mildest of symptoms to get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received,” he said.

An exasperated Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, said the situation was a joke and called for rapid antigen testing at the Ballina Byron Airport for anyone arriving in the Northern Rivers, to protect the region from Covid-19 arrivals, a view shared by Ballina MP, Tamara Smith.

“I cannot believe we’re in this situation, completely avoidable again, businesses shutting down again, school holidays ruined again, it beggars belief,” Mayor Lyons said.

The Queensland Government has not confirmed if Tweed and Byron LGAs are removed from the restored border bubble.
Lismore LGA remains in lockdown until at least Thursday, September 23, and is excluded from the border bubble arrangement until further notice.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

There were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, to 8pm Thursday 16 September.
Yesterday there were more than 1,000 tests conducted in the Northern NSW Local Health District.
To determine the extent of the risk and detect any further potential COVID-19 cases in our area, we are calling on the communities to come forward for testing in large numbers.
A strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if the current stay-at-home orders for Lismore are extended beyond one week.
For the week of 5–11 September there were 4,976 tests conducted amongst NNSWLHD residents, compared to 5,746 tests conducted during the previous week.
Anyone with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms is urged to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received.
Please continue to check this page regularly, as the list of venues of concern and relevant health advice are being updated as new cases emerge and investigations continue.
If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules given to you by Health staff, whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
All residents of the Lismore LGA, and anyone who visited Lismore since September 7 are subject to ‘Stay at Home’ requirements.
Testing clinics in the Lismore region
We’d like to remind the community that there is a new drive-through testing at Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC), 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah. This clinic also accepts walk-ins.
The clinic will be open from 8am to 4pm Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September at this stage. PAGE 2 OF 2

Other clinics located in Lismore are:
• • _Lismore Base Hospital – Uralba Street, Lismore, open seven days, 9am-5pm. Appointments not required
• • _Lismore 4Cyte Pathology Drive-through Clinic – 47-49 Dawson Street, Lismore. Open Saturday and Sunday 8am-2pm, appointments not required
• • _Lismore Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology – 62 Wyrallah Road, Shop 12, Wyrallah Road Shopping Centre, Lismore. Open Monday – Saturday, appointments not required
• • _Southern Cross University Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Drive-through Clinic Military Road, Southern Cross University, East Lismore. Open Tuesday to Friday, appointments not required.

For those outside of the area, there are more than 500 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

Police are warning would-be protesters to stay at home this weekend, with a significant police operation to be launched in response to planned unauthorised protest activity.

Preparations are underway for a highly visible and mobile police operation to disrupt any protests and prevent mass gatherings across the state.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott warned anyone thinking of protesting this weekend to stay at home, and not come into the city.

“There is no doubt that these protests are a risk to public health – for the community, for police as well as for the individual health of the protesters themselves,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’ve seen past protesters end up contracting COVID-19, so anyone who is still considering protesting needs take a good hard look at themselves.”

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon, Metropolitan Field Operations, said the operation would mirror previous operations, which had been extremely successful in preventing and disrupting protest activity.

“We are continuing to monitor online commentary ahead of tomorrow and have put in place an extremely mobile police operation with significant resources, to respond to whatever situation we are faced with.

“I have said before and I will say it again – we take the health and safety of the community extremely seriously.

“I would again appeal to the community to do your part to protect your loved ones and the wider community by staying at home, unless you are complying with the requirements of the public health order.

“Engaging in an unauthorised protest does not comply with the public health order and anyone choosing to attend or participate for that purpose should expect to be met by the police and face penalties ranging from a fine to being arrested.”

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