Navigating through COVID-19 testing in Byron Shire

As a Byron Shire resident, if you are showing symptoms for the virus, you can get tested for free at the Byron Hospital COVID-19 clinic.

Aslan Shand

Staying abreast of who can get tested for COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, including local doctors, and this has led to some confusion for some Byron Shire residents.

For one local, advice from her doctor was that neither she, nor her daughter, could get tested for COVID-19.

‘My daughter had been feverish, with a sore throat, and had aches and pains so we rang the doctors. They said not to come in and we got a call back for a tele-consult,’ said the local, who asked not to be identified.

‘The doctor said it could be many things, and to self-isolate for seven days. They sent us lots of material on how to do that. If it gets worse they said to go to hospital.’

Then she also began to show the same symptoms and again rang the doctor and was given the same advice. 

‘I work in a job that where I face customers, and though I haven’t knowingly been in touch with a person known to have COVID-19, I have been in contact with a lot of people,’ she told Echonetdaily.

Her doctor told her that if she was determined to get a test it would cost her $110, which as a casual worker was a big hit to her finances. Yet, if she self-isolated for the full 14 days, she would be without an income.

It wasn’t until she spoke with a friend that she found out that as a Byron Shire resident, if you are showing symptoms for the virus, you can get tested for free at the Byron Hospital COVID-19 clinic. So she went to get tested. 

Tested negative

‘I got my results back yesterday, and it was such a relief to find out that I didn’t have it,’ said the local resident. ‘The test involves a swab in the mouth to around the tonsils, and then a second swab in the nasal passage,’ she said.

The COVID-19 test is free at the Byron, Tweed and Lismore Hospital COVID-19 clinics. There is no need to make an appointment, you can arrive and be tested that day.

As of April 19, confirmed COVID-19 cases for Byron Shire were at 16, Tweed Shire 15 and Lismore Shire 5. The data is available at

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 responses to “Navigating through COVID-19 testing in Byron Shire”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Being aware of the COVID-19 rules of just who can get tested is a test for all, including local doctors, as these rules confuse like being in or out of school for many Byron Shire residents. Many have been discriminated against, but who cares about discrimination these days. It is only death.

  2. Garry says:

    Can someone check to see exactly what test or tests are being used in Australia. The perimeters of the test and how a positive diagnosis is achieved. We know the PCR test for instance, is highly unreliable with only a 20% chance of a correct diagnosis and an 80% chance of being mis diagnosed. False positives.
    It would be interesting to understand how the medical profession were able to create a specific test with a 100% success rate within the short timeframe of the outbreak.

    If Australia is using the PCR test as the benchmark many people could be inadvertently subjected to un necessary life altering circumstances.

  3. Rob Davies says:

    The COVID/fever clinic at BCH is free to everyone. it is open 10 am to 4 pm. the testing criteria have been widened and people with respiratory symptoms OR fevers will be tested. Results will take ~ 48 hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor, the Byron Residents' Group.