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HNE Health say assume symptoms are COVID-19, get tested, isolate

Tamworth recorded two cases of COVID-19 today, while Gunnedah has recorded zero.


Hunter New England Health (HNEH) has advised that the time to get on top of the outbreak is now. The local health district is encouraging residents to assume symptoms are COVID-19 related.


HNE Health Public health physician Dr David Durrheim said the opportunity for coming into contact with COVID-cases increases now that the community has opened up.


“The best way [to get on top] is to focus on any symptoms, so don’t ignore any symptoms”


“At this time of the year, the winter colds and flu are no longer the reason for a sore throat, a runny nose, a cough. If these things happen you really have to think that you may have come into contact with COVID, and you really need to go and get tested and isolate” said Dr Durrheim.


“The power is now in all of our hands to limit the possibility of coming into contact with COVID. The most important measures are being double vaccinated ourselves, but also, we really should feel empowered to ask family and friends ‘have you been double vaccinated?’ We don’t want to mix with people at this stage who are unprotected”.


“The power is in our hands as people who maybe want to go and have a meal at a restaurant, visit a pub, go and visit a gym, to again ask the proprietors ‘have all of your staff been double vaccinated? Are you checking the vaccination status of everybody who’s coming out to pay a visit?’ This way we can keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe” said Dr Durrheim.


Concerns exist amidst the current Tamworth outbreak which has been evolving over the last couple of weeks.


Dr Durrheim said most of the cases have been in large family groups and have been linked. He said this gives us an opportunity to get on top of the current outbreak.


“There has been at least one mystery case, where we haven’t been able to identify the source. Most of the other cases have been linked” he said.


Local schools have been disrupted and heavily impacted by the Tamworth outbreak. The Department of Education is working closely with the schools to ensure the safety of children, staff, and the greater community.


Confirmed venues of concern will go up on the HNE social pages and NSW Health website. In the meantime, Dr Durrheim encourages people to stay away from congregated groups of people.


“We do encourage people to spend as little time as possible in congregated areas. Your risk of encountering COVID-19 is very very much proportional to being in places that are crowed where there are large numbers of people” he said.