REVEALED: Alarming trend in local COVID tests
THE Clarence Valley has been COVID-19 free for months, and cases across the state are falling, but an alarming drop in our testing rates has authorities warning not to let our guard down.
While testing numbers accelerated through July and August, new figures released for the first half of September show testing numbers in most postcodes across the Clarence and Northern Rivers have declined dramatically.
Data from NSW Health shows up to September 13 there were 5154 tests conducted across the Clarence and Northern Rivers.
This compares to 7427 for the same days in August across the region.
In the larger regions, the 2480 Lismore postcode still led the way on testing, falling from 1139 to 894 tests, while in the 2460 Grafton postcode, tests fell from 553 to 386.
It is a trend that has attracted the attention of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as the figures mirror what is being seen across the state, particularly in Sydney, which has several hot spots.
"I am concerned about testing, with only 8,000 in the last 24 hours, and we really need the community to stay vigilant and not be complacent," she said on Tuesday.
"Families will be travelling through all parts of NSW so mobility will be increasing and families moving all across the state.
"It's really important for us to keep testing rates high to make sure that we control the spread ahead of the school holidays."
It was mirrored by Healthy North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess who urged people to get tested and continue physical distancing.
"We cannot let our guard down, testing is crucial to combating COVID-19," Ms Sturgess said. "The clinics are free and provide the opportunity for people to undergo assessment and testing in a safe environment, close to home. A simple test can help to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable community members."
Ms Sturgess said it was also important that people cover their coughs and sneezes and wash their hands often with soap and water.
Healthy North Coast has supported the establishment of GP-led COVID-19 respiratory clinics across the North Coast as part of the Australian Government's COVID-19 response.