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COVID-19, coronavirus: Long queues as Bathurst testing blitz gets under way

WAITING GAME: Long queues this morning at a free drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Cooke Hockey Complex. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW
WAITING GAME: Long queues this morning at a free drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Cooke Hockey Complex. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

LONG queues are already forming in the Cooke Hockey Complex car park as a COVID-19 testing blitz gets under way in Bathurst.

Cars were already lining up when the free drive-through testing clinic opened at 10am and other testing clinics at Bathurst Health Service and Ochre Health are also being kept busy.

The rush comes after NSW Health issued a public health alert for the Bathurst region after remnants of coronavirus were found in raw sewage tests on Wednesday.

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Health authorities have called on anyone who attended the Bathurst 1000 over the weekend to get tested as soon as possible, as well as Bathurst residents with any symptoms that could signal COVID-19.

No positive cases of the virus have yet been found on Bathurst but NSW Health issued a statement on Wednesday night saying increased testing was the only way to find new infections and to prevent further spread.

"The sample comprises wastewater from over the past weekend and could indicate a current or previous infection in someone who attended or worked at the Bathurst 1000 motor race, a visitor to Bathurst, or even a local resident," the statement from NSW Health said.

Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

"Visitors to and residents of Bathurst must be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear that you think might just be a cold. Symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, tiredness, fever or other symptoms could be COVID-19.

"After testing, you must remain in isolation until a negative result is received.

"NSW Health is urgently undertaking investigations, which include reviewing lists of all those known to have had the virus who attended or worked at the race.

"The only way to find new cases and prevent further transmission is to increase testing."

The free drive-through clinic is open for the next 10 days from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturday.

It is one of more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP.

Sewage testing for molecular markers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, started in July, adding another tool in the fight against the global pandemic.

There is no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted via wastewater systems.

If you have any questions or concerns you can ring the National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 or healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

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This story Long queues at Cooke Hockey Complex as COVID testing blitz begins first appeared on Western Advocate.