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Nelmes, Hornery call for more COVID-19 testing sites

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Civic leaders and local politicians are calling on NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard to increase the amount of COVID-19 testing centres in the Hunter.

It comes as Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) confirmed on Friday 6 August another two people – a female in her 60s and one in her 20s – had contracted the virus.

That lifts the total of local cases to seven, which includes two women in their 20s, a man in his 20s and two children aged 8 and 11.

After contacting Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery, following numerous concerns from residents throughout the day, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes reached out to Mr Hazzard seeking an urgent response to their requests of further assistance to combat the spread of the Delta strain in the region.

“Novocastrians must be applauded for taking this latest outbreak very seriously – and for seeking rapid COVID-19 testing,” she said.

“But, it shouldn’t take hours.

“Plus, people being turned away because sites are at capacity could be absolutely disastrous.

“The new McDonald Jones Stadium facility, which only opened today, has already rejected locals due to the demand.

“Sonia [Hornery] and I have asked the minister to urgently consider creating more testing sites, and ensuring these facilities are adequately staffed to handle such an upsurge in numbers.

“I’d also like to thank our incredible frontline health workers for their amazing work during such a tough time.

“You all deserve to be so well-supported to help our community to get through this.”

Meanwhile, HNELHD has been notified of a number of new venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, announced in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

“We’re contacting all close contacts and requesting them to be tested and self-isolate for 14 days from last contact,” public health physician Dr David Durrheim said.

“Anyone who attended the following venues on the specified dates and times (below) are considered close contacts and must get tested and isolate for 14 days – and await further advice from NSW Health.

“Also, anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath is urged to get tested.

“Even those with mild symptoms such as fatigue, new muscle aches or pains, a change in taste or smell or a new runny nose, are encouraged to arrange testing.”

  • HealthSure Medical Centre, Jesmond on 2 August from 3.20pm to 3.55pm
  • Jump N Swim Academy, Thornton on Wednesday 4 August from 5pm to 5.30pm
  • Apple Store, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.10pm to 3.50pm
  • Boost Juice, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.52pm to 3.56pm
  • Cotton On, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.57pm to 3.58pm
  • Jay Jays, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.58pm to 4.13pm, and 4.54pm to 4.59pm
  • Priceline Pharmacy, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 4.20pm to 4.25pm
  • Glassons, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 4.26pm to 4.41pm
  • Supre, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 4.43pm to 4.53pm
  • Factorie, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 5.02pm to 5.08pm
  • Charlestown Square Food Court (Guzman y Gomez and McDonalds) on 29 July from 5.09pm to 5.44pm
  • Ground Level Newsagency, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.16pm to 3.22pm, and 4.18pm to 4.24pm
  • Pearl Nails, Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3.23pm to 4.18pm

Anyone who attended the following venues (below) on the specified dates and times are casual contacts – and must get tested and isolate until a negative test result is received:

  • Charlestown Square on 29 July from 3pm to 6pm
  • Target, Glendale shopping village on 1 August from 8.50am to 1pm
  • Priceline Pharmacy, Jesmond on 2 August from 4pm to 4.20pm
  • Jump N Swim Academy, Thornton on Wednesday 4 August from 4.30pm to 5pm

More exposure sites may be announced as investigations continue.

The pop-up drive through testing site, run by Laverty Pathology, opened at McDonald Jones Stadium (294 Turton Road, Broadmeadow) on 6 August, operating until 6pm.

The clinic will function from Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 7.30am to 4pm.

Public and private testing clinics are now open with extended hours.

For a full list of clinics and addresses visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/clinics

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