HNE Health urges higher COVID-19 testing rates as Muswellbrook drive through clinic extended

The Public Health Controller of Hunter New England (HNE) Health's COVID-19 response has urged members of the community to continue getting tested as 14 new cases were announced in the region.

Dr David Durrheim said in the last week there had been a decrease of up to 75 per cent in the number of tests by local government area (LGA) compared to four weeks ago.

On Friday, September 10 Muswellbrook recorded 159 COVID tests and Singleton 193, however both areas recorded zero tests on Monday, September 13 according to HNE Health.

DRIVE THROUGH: The COVID-19 testing facility at the Muswellbrook Showgrounds will remain open until Tuesday, September 21

DRIVE THROUGH: The COVID-19 testing facility at the Muswellbrook Showgrounds will remain open until Tuesday, September 21

"This really should be a wake up call to all of us that at those testing rates we may not detect every case of virus in the community and that places all of us at risk," Dr Durrheim said.

"Within Hunter New England we see large numbers of movements every day, particularly between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and into the Singleton and Muswellbrook areas for mining and other work purposes.

"So the possibility of reintroduction of the virus into these communities at any stage is very high."

TESTING: Dr David Durrheim has urged HNE residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they display even the mildest symptoms

TESTING: Dr David Durrheim has urged HNE residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they display even the mildest symptoms

Dr Durrheim urged residents to get tested if they display even the mildest of symptoms and to continue to abide by social distancing measures.

Muswellbrook Shire Council has extended the drive-through COVID testing facility at Muswellbrook Showgrounds until Tuesday, September 21.

The testing clinic will operate from 7:30am until 2:30pm from Wednesday, September 15.