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Byron Shire
December 5, 2021

Northern Rivers COVID restrictions lifting at midnight

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NSW Health has confirmed that COVID-related restrictions for the Northern Rivers will be lifted at midnight tonight (Monday 5 April).

In today’s official update, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said ‘Temporary restrictions for Tweed Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council and Lismore City Council will be lifted at 11.59pm.’

Mask-wearing will no longer be compulsory, but remain recommended for people in public indoor settings.

Dr McAnulty emphasised that the relaxing of restrictions does not change the need for the large number of people in the Northern Rivers who are close contacts of cases to stop self-isolating.

‘These people must continue to isolate for the full fourteen days from their date of exposure, and get tested again at the end of this period,’ he said.

There are currently 39 cases of COVID-19 being treated in NSW (none in ICU), with test and vaccine numbers both well up on the previous week. 126,526 vaccines have now been administered by NSW Health.

Local testing issues

Chief Executive of Northern NSW Local Health District Wayne Jones said today, ‘The Northern NSW community’s response to the recent COVID-19 risk has been fantastic, with more than 10,000 people presenting for testing since it was confirmed Queensland cases had visited Byron Bay venues while infectious from 26-28 March.

‘This represents a ten-fold increase in COVID-19 testing when compared to numbers achieved in the region in the previous corresponding period,’ he said.

‘Of these 10,000-plus tests undertaken, 71 swabs were misplaced at a privately-run drive-through testing clinic at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Byron Bay however all 71 have since been located. The swabs were collected on Thursday 1 April and were to be transported to the laboratory for testing.’

Mr Jones explained that when it emerged the swabs had been misplaced, the clinic contacted all 71 people and asked for them to be re-tested. Twenty people presented for testing again before all of the original 71 swabs were located by the operator and sent to the laboratory.

‘Of the 71 people affected, 69 people have now received negative results and two people are still awaiting results, which are expected shortly,’ said Mr Jones.

‘We apologise to those people whose tests were misplaced and also sincerely thank those people who have presented for re-testing. The incident is being thoroughly investigated to avoid the risk of it happening again.’

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