Health authorities warn that fake messages stating the recipient has tested positive for COVID-19 have been circulating around Tamworth. Hunter New England Health public health controller David Durrheim said anyone who is confirmed to have coronavirus will never be texted their result. He added text messages are only sent to those who test negative. More than 1700 people have been tested at the Tamworth and Armidale pop-up clinics in the past week. So far, no positive cases of coronavirus have been detected confirming what Hunter New England Health authorities had suspected. "Because it [the testing clinics] have been so popular, we have extended it for a week," he said. "We have to test quite extensively to make sure we haven't missed any of the virus so these initiatives are quite important in making sure there is no virus circulating in Tamworth or Armidale." While numbers are down and restrictions are easing across the country, Dr Durrheim, said we’re not out of the woods just yet. “We’ve made some really positive progress towards getting COVID-19 under control but we need to be careful not to become complacent," he said. “We’re all keen to return to our normal lives, but even as restrictions ease vigilance is still needed to ensure we don’t get a resurgence of the virus, which is a possibility. “What we’re really looking at is a new type of normal until an effective vaccine is broadly available." With some visiting restrictions lifted this past weekend, Dr Durrheim stresses that social distancing and good hygiene should still be in front of mind. “We will need to continue to test widely and monitor cases closely as restrictions ease," he said.
"Everyone has a role to play in ensuring we keep good control of COVID-19. “Regular hand hygiene, meticulous cough and sneeze etiquette, and continuing to stand back are our new normal. Let’s all make sure that we are not giving the virus another chance.” Due to high demand, the Tamworth clinic has been extended to operate from 9am to 4pm until May 8. Those wishing to be tested must call 1800 881 568 (during testing hours) to register before attending the clinic. It is a drive-through service set up in Carpark E on the corner of Johnston and Smith streets. Due to high demand, the Armidale Hospital COVID-19 Clinic has also been extended for an additional week until May 8. Operating hours have also been extended, with the clinic now open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Those wishing to be tested must call 0427 923 080 (between 9am and 4:30pm on testing days) to register before attending the clinic. Testing is recommended for those who have cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath, or for those who have travelled internationally, or on a cruise ship, or have been in touch with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Those who don’t have symptoms or risk factors but are concerned about their health can also contact the clinic to arrange a time.