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COVID-19 testing continues on the border as Melbourne’s outbreaks cause worry

By Daneka Hill

As Melbourne’s outbreaks send COVID-19 cases climbing, Nathalia, Cobram and Numurkah residents are being applauded by health officials after more than 100 unwell locals presented for testing last week.

The big turnout was mirrored across the entire Murrumbidgee Local Health District where 2423 people were tested in a period of seven days, all returning negative tests.

Remote residents along the border can also look forward to increased access to testing after the MLHD rolled out a mobile testing clinic in response to Victoria’s rising case numbers.

Anyone feeling unwell is encouraged to take advantage of the clinic when it is in their area and get swabbed.

The mobile clinic is in Tocumwal tomorrow, Mulwala on Friday, Berrigan on Tuesday and Barooga next Wednesday among other locations, before doubling back for second visits.

Nathalia Cobram Numurkah Health has cautioned locals awaiting test results to self-isolate during the 30 hours it takes to receive results.

NCN Health chief executive Jacque Phillips was very happy with the community response so far and thanked everyone for their vigilance.

MLHD public health director Tracey Oakman said the MLHD was taking the Melbourne outbreaks very seriously.

“With the recent outbreaks in Melbourne and the school holidays approaching in July, transmissions could spread quite easily to our region,” Ms Oakman said.

“It is really important that if you don’t need to go to Melbourne please don’t travel.”

Recently, the MLHD implemented new Melbourne-specific restrictions on all patients, visitors and staff, requiring them to be symptom-free for 14 days after a Melbourne visit before accessing any MLHD facilities.

Ms Oakman encouraged people to keep social distancing, minimising gatherings and staying away from Melbourne.

“The hotspot areas that we know today are based on tests done seven days ago,” Ms Oakman said, warning against being complacent.

“Again, I encourage anyone with symptoms to please don’t hesitate and get tested immediately.”

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and a runny nose.

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