30 March 2020

45 COVID-19 cases in South East, 31 in Murrumbidgee as diagnoses rise across the region

| Edwina Mason
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COVID-19 cases are rising across Southern NSW. Photo: SNSWLHD Facebook.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases identified in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has leapt from 20 to 31 over the weekend, while there are now 45 cases across the Southern NSW Local Health District.

There are now nine COVID-19 cases in the Goulburn Mulwaree Shire, four in Palerang and five in Queanbeyan local government areas, six in the Yass Shire, and eight in each of the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shires. Two cases have been confirmed in Cooma Monaro and three in Snowy River.

In the Murrumbidgee region, Snowy Valleys, Berrigan, Murrumbidgee, Griffith City and Hay local government areas now join the list of affected shires and three of the 31 positive cases have been admitted to local hospitals.

Southern NSW

Southern NSW has recorded 45 cases of COVID-19. Image: SNSWLHD Facebook.

To avoid confusion and provide greater clarity without breaching confidentiality, the former pre-merger LGA areas are being used to provide more accurate locations. Many of these areas are made up of small towns and communities so while naming a large current Shire may not be useful, the older shire locations provide a more relatively defined location.

Both Local Health Districts say that their initial assessment of the available data suggests that all cases so far appear to be linked to overseas travel, but there is still a large volume of data to be analysed.

In Southern NSW, testing centres are operating at the Goulburn, Bega and Queanbeyan local hospitals. Patients seeking COVID-19 tests are asked to follow signs to the dedicated testing areas. In Moruya, the service is in the Pathways building, and in Cooma at the Sharp St surgery. Do not attend these centres without calling first to ensure you meet the criteria and receive directions.

Anyone heading to an assessment centre MUST call the SNSWLHD Central Intake Service – 1800 999 880 (option 1) before attending. You will only be tested if you fit the COVID-19 testing criteria.

In the Murrumbidgee LHD, three additional testing clinics at Cootamundra, Deniliquin and Tumut opened this morning. This is in addition to the clinics already established in Wagga Wagga and Griffith, and brings the total number of clinics in the district to five.

The additional clinics will provide additional capacity in response to anticipated increased demand for COVID-19 testing due to changes in the testing criteria. Due to the current travel restrictions, the district is also seeking to minimise the distances the community needs to travel to access testing.

Only people who have an appointment should attend the clinics. Patients who have experienced mild to moderate symptoms are in self-isolation to ensure they do not transmit the virus.

In the first instance, people who are concerned and would like to speak to someone about their symptoms are advised to call the Murrumbidgee COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 831 099.

COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 cases are also on the rise in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District. Image: MLHD Facebook.

The most recent COVID 19 testing criteria are:

  • You have returned from overseas in the past 14 days or spent time on a cruise ship, and you develop respiratory illness, with or without fever
  • You have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and you develop respiratory illness, with or without fever
  • You have severe community-acquired pneumonia and there is no clear cause (including patients who have already been hospitalised for this condition)
  • You have a fever or acute respiratory infection and you work in the healthcare or aged/residential care sectors, or you have spent time in a location that’s defined by a state or territory as having an elevated risk of community transmission, or you have spent time at a “high-risk” location where there are two or more linked cases of COVID-19, such as an aged-care home, a remote Aboriginal community, a correctional facility, a boarding school, or a military base (including Navy ships) with live-in accommodation.

Further information is available on the NSW Health website.

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