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Byron Shire
June 23, 2024

Byron Mayor speaks out about COVID testing

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Byron Council has issued a media release about the latest COVID stats and the lack of testing in the shire.

The release says that the latest information released by the Northern NSW Local Health District today (5 January) showed there were 576 new COVID cases to 8pm last night with 96 in the Byron Shire.

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With the number of COVID cases in the Byron Shire and across the Northern Rivers steadily increasing, Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, has questioned the handling of testing by the NSW and Australian Governments.

Long queues at testing facilities in Byron

There have been long queues at testing facilities in Byron Bay for several weeks and in the absence of PCR tests there are also very few rapid antigen tests (RAT) available.

Mr Lyon said there is no doubt that from a planning perspective NSW has been found wanting in our preparation for the re-opening last month. ‘It’s a very stressful and emotional time for people who are not only frustrated by the lack of access to tests but they are concerned for their health and that of loved ones and friends.

‘Even if the RAT tests were available, they are expensive and beyond the reach of many people in our community.

‘Added to which the rules about testing and isolation are confusing and keep changing and this needs to be addressed quickly in terms of simplifying and clarifying the rules so that everyone is on the same page.

‘We all need to be able to get access to testing when required regardless of means or location.

Fortunate high vaccination rates

‘Fortunately, we have high vaccination rates in the Byron Shire and even higher across the region and we will get through this as individuals and as a community,’ said Mayor Lyon.

‘I encourage people who have been vaccinated to book in for their booster shot.

‘To all the people in our health system who have been working so hard – thank you.

Mr Lyon said COVID is a part of our lives and there is no changing that so we need to be prepared because it is likely to get worse before it gets better. ‘The very harsh reality is that some of us will lose loved ones so now, more than ever, it’s time to support each other, look out for each other and be kind to each other.’


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  1. I find Michael Lyon’s comments sorely lacking the leadership required right now. How about advocating for those not vaccinated to do so because NSW Health statistics are stark and, quite frankly, terrifying – 95% of those currently in hospital and ICU with Covid are either unvaccinated or only had one dose.


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