New test hot spot in ‘desperate’ state
Health authorities in NSW are "desperate to get much more testing done" after recording 12 more cases of COVID-19.
It is a significant chunk of the country's new cases given Australia has recorded less than 50 cases each day over the past seven days.
Queensland recorded two more cases today and Victoria announced a further three cases.
A 96-year-old woman died overnight at Anglicare Newmarch House in Caddens, at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Sydney's west, bringing the state's coronavirus death toll to 35.
NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Jeremy McAnulty said they are still seeing community transmission of COVID-19.
"In the last 24 hours, we've seen a small number of cases in the Blue Mountains area and so we're keen that people in the Blue Mountains area, if you have any minor symptoms of either fever or respiratory illnesses - cough, runny nose, sore throat - come forward, we would like to get you tested," Dr McAnulty said on Saturday.
"Either through your GP or through one of the COVID clinics in the area or the ED (emergency department).
"We'd like to get you tested so we can make sure we find cases early so we can make sure they're isolated and their contacts are traced."
Dr McAnulty coughed throughout the press conference but said he had "eaten something recently" and disappeared to get a glass of water. "I have been tested in the past," he told reporters.
The COVID-19 symptoms, according to NSW Health, include fever, cough, tiredness (fatigue), sore throat and shortness of breath.
"We're asking people in the Blue Mountains area to just remember those symptoms and to come forward for testing, just to be sure," Dr McAnulty said.
"Most people won't have the virus but just to be sure, it's a simple test to do and we can get fairly quick turnaround these days."
There are testing clinics across the region at Blue Mountains Hospital, Lithgow Hospital, Nepean Hospital, Penrith Respiratory Clinic and a mobile clinic van at Hawkesbury Hospital.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the 12 new coronavirus cases brought the state's total 2994 however 2193 patients have recovered.
He said there have been 193,256 tests conducted, with 190,262 returning a negative result.
But he urged people to come forward for testing, even if they have "as little as in itchy throat, runny nose or temperature" because daily testing rates had dropped from 7352 to 4840.
"NSW Health, the government, wants you to come forward and be tested," Mr Hazzard said.
"The Premier has made the point on a number of occasions in the last few days that NSW is desperate to get much more testing done.
"We need it to understand what is happening in the broader population."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said the state has now doubled its testing capacity to 8000.
"Testing is key to reducing community transmission and dealing with local breakouts - and this is critical if we are going to lift any restrictions," she said.
Mr Hazzard said they have seen a drop in the number of tests on weekends.
"We are testing every day of the week and want people to come forward on Saturday and Sundays," he said.
Originally published as New test hot spot in 'desperate' state