THE total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district has reached 47, as Hunter New England Health postpones elective surgeries to prepare for an expected surge.
However, there is no alert for the Tamworth area.
Since Sunday, another 17 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the region.
Overall, 28 patients acquired the virus overseas, while 11 were a contact of a confirmed case.
But HNE have been unable to uncover the source of eight of the infections.
Hunter New England Health has also announced it will postpone non-urgent elective surgeries to allow for staff training and provide more capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Postponing surgeries will be done in a staged way so we balance crucial staff preparedness with acting in the best interests of patients who are waiting for important surgery," Paul Craven, Medical Controller for COVID-19.
"The postponements will be based on clinical advice and an assessment of each person’s case.
"This is part of our Pandemic Plan and is an example of how we are ensuring our facilities are prepared for COVID-19."
Dr Craven said the district had already taken the proactive step to postpone elective surgery for those who had returned from overseas, and now it’s necessary to extend this to other non-urgent surgery.
All patients will retain their place on the waitlist and will be contacted to reschedule at a later date," he said.
"Emergency surgery will of course continue. We will work with affected patients to ensure they get the care they need while they await their surgery.
"We know some people will naturally be disappointed, but we ask the community for their understanding during this difficult time."