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November 27, 2022

UPDATE: Thousands of COVID tests conducted across northern rivers

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Cars lining up waiting for the drive through COVID testing unit to open at the Cavanbah Centre in Byron Bay. Photo supplied.

Update at 12.50pm Thursday, 1 April, 2021:

There have now been 20,459 tests reported to 8pm last night (31 March, 2021) with still only the one new case of community transmission in Byron Bay as reported yesterday morning.

‘There were 20,459 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 17,393. NSW Health thanks the community – particularly those in northern NSW – for coming forward in large numbers for testing, as this is critical to detect and stop transmission of the virus,’ said a press release from Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD).

Brisbane restrictions to end

Queensland Health has advised that stay-at-home restrictions for Greater Brisbane will end at 12pm AEST today.

NSW has been mirroring the Queensland Health restrictions for anyone in NSW who has been to Greater Brisbane since 20 March, and these people will also no longer be required to stay at home from this time (1pm local time).

‘While urgent investigations and contact tracing continue into the local case and the cases who visited Byron Bay from Queensland while infectious, NSW Health is adopting a cautious approach to minimise the risk of further transmission,’ said the press release. 

‘The following rules now apply to the local government areas of Tweed Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council and Lismore City Council: 

masks must be worn on public transport, in retail stores, and in all public indoor settings

the one person per 4 square metre rule applies at all public indoor settings including hospitality venues

the number of household visitors is capped at 30, including at holiday rental properties.

These restrictions will remain in place until 11:59pm on Monday 5 April, when the community will be updated.

New venues of concer

NSW Health last night issued an update on new venues of concern in the Byron Bay, Ballina and Lennox Head areas. Advice has also been updated for the Surfit 24/7 Epiq Gym at 5 Snapper Drive in Lennox Head.

‘Anyone who attended on Sunday 28 March between 8am and 10.30am is now considered a close contact who must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result,’ said the press release.

A complete list of venues of concern and associated health advice is available online here. Please check this page regularly, as advice is being updated as further information becomes available.

NSW Health urges anyone throughout the state who has even the mildest of cold-like symptoms to be tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

This is even more important during the Easter long weekend, when people will travel around the state and attend gatherings with family and friends.

People are encouraged to hold gatherings outdoors where possible and reminded to always check in and out when visiting venues.

There are more than 350 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week, including over the long weekend.

To find your nearest clinic, click here

Original story:

The Byron, Ballina, Tweed, and Lismore Shires community and visitors have come forward in large numbers for testing following the alert of two COVID positive visitors coming to Byron Bay last weekend.

The COVID risk has also led to the last-minute cancellation of Blues Fest yesterday.

According to Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) there were 2,278 tests conducted on 20 March in NNSWLHD hospital COVID-19 testing clinics, pop up clinics and drive through clinics. This is in addition to the more than 800 tests conducted on Monday 29 March. GP and respiratory clinics also providing testing across the region.

‘These figures represent a significant increase in the number of people coming forward for testing in comparison to recent weeks, when testing numbers were averaging fewer than 400 per day,’ said Wayne Jones, NNSWLHD Chief Executive.

‘Thank you to everyone who has come forward for testing so far, helping to protect themselves and their communities. I thank everyone for their patience over recent days during the periods of high demand. NSW Health is continuing to increase testing capacity across the region.’

Where to get tested

An additional drive through clinic was established in Ballina yesterday a the Ballina Surf Club on Lighthouse Parade, East Ballina. It will be open 8am – 7pm, Monday to Sunday.

There are 18 COVID-19 testing clinics in Northern NSW, including:

• Byron Bay QML Pathology Drive-Through, Cavanbah Sports Ground, 249 Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay. Open from 8am to 8pm Monday – Sunday. No referral required.

• Byron Bay Walk-in Pop-Up Clinic; Byron Bay surf club, Bay St, Byron Bay. Open from 9am – 5pm. No appointment required.

• Lennox Head QML Pathology Drive-through clinic, Lennox Community Centre, Cnr Park Lane and Mackney Lane, open from 8am Monday – Sunday. No referral required.

• Tweed Heads QML Pathology Drive-through clinic, Cnr Wharf and Florence Street, Tweed Heads, 8am – 8pm Monday -Sunday. No referral required.

• Lismore QML Pathology Drive – through clinic, 354 Keen Street, Lismore. Open from 8am – 7pm, Monday – Sunday. No referral required.

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  1. Thanks to everyone who registered on the QR codes then turned up for testing. If the local case of transmission had not done this and been identified the consequences could have been dire. It has at times been dispiriting to witness the often cavalier attitude and complacency of some in our community but it was so inspiring to see the long queues of mainly young people lined up with no doubt a sense of personal responsibility and concern for others.

    Please note though that one attendee at the party tested negative on Monday but positive yesterday 🤞


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