In an effort to understand the rate of coronavirus in the region, residents are being asked to register for a testing blitz. Hunter New England Health is calling on Armidale and Tamworth locals to increase testing rates during a one week COVID-19 testing spree, starting Monday. Specialised COVID-19 clinics are being set up at both hospitals to assist with boosting testing numbers across both communities. Public Health Physician David Durrheim said the week-long blitz will help the District better understand COVID-19’s spread across Hunter New England, especially as cases stabilise. “Our goal for blitz week is to push testing rates as high as possible so we can be absolutely sure there is no COVID-19 risk for the people in these towns," Dr Durrheim said. "We don’t expect to find big numbers of cases – or indeed many at all – but testing is the only way we will know for sure. “It’s especially important you get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath. "Likewise, if you’ve recently travelled internationally, or on a cruise ship, or in touch with a person confirmed to have COVID-19.” Dr Durrheim said residents who do not have symptoms or risk factors but are concerned about their health, they can contact the local clinic to arrange to be tested. Those wishing to be tested can contact their GP or one of the drive-through COVID-19 clinics at Armidale or Tamworth hospitals. These clinics are available for a limited time but may be extended depending on demand. The Tamworth clinic will operate from 9am to 4pm from April 27 until May 3. People should call 1800 881 568 (during testing hours) to register before attending the clinic. The Armidale clinic will operate from 10am to 2pm from Monday until May 1. People should call 0427 923 080 (between 9am and 4:30pm on testing days) to register before attending the clinic. Dr Durrheim has also asked that anyone who is exhibiting symptoms isolate at home until they have received further advice from their GP or the hospital.
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