All patients COVID-clear, but we're not out of the woods on Mid North Coast

The virus is highly transmissible, can be fatal and has not been eliminated from Australia.
The virus is highly transmissible, can be fatal and has not been eliminated from Australia.

FORTY-NINE people diagnosed with COVID-19 on the Mid North Coast have recovered.

The pandemic's impact on the region has come at a tragic cost though with the death of a 91-year-old man in Port Macquarie.

While the milestone - if we can call it that - should be acknowledged, health authorities have issued a serious warning to residents that the Mid North Coast is far from being immune to the resurgence of new cases.

With the easing of restrictions across New South Wales moving into stage two from this weekend allowing regional travel, more people in public spaces and together in local pubs, clubs and cafes, the North Coast Public Health Director Paul Corben says vigilance is paramount.

"This does not mean COVID is behind us," Mr Corben said.

"We are nowhere near being out of the woods yet."

The Mid North Coast Health District having "no active cases of COVID-19" simply means 49 people have completed a three week recovery phase from when their symptoms were first diagnosed to reassessment.

"Those 49 people on the Mid North Coast have completed that recovery interview and reported to being back to their pre-COVID state of health which is great news," Mr Corben said.

"It is really important we continue physical distancing and with other restrictions around the number people in restaurants, pubs, clubs and how businesses operate so we don't lose all those benefits from having those public health measures in place.

North Coast Public Health Director Paul Corben says vigilance is paramount.

North Coast Public Health Director Paul Corben says vigilance is paramount.

"It's good that those sort of tried and true measures have bought us a lot of time so the health system can be prepared. As people start to mix a lot more, the risk of the virus being transmitted increases and as people move around the state, the likelihood of there being cases increases."

Mr Corben said the virus is highly transmissible, can be fatal and has not been eliminated from Australia.

"There are still little pockets popping up and we are still learning about the virus. It's new and we know people can be infected and have no symptoms at all and be infectious to other people without knowing it," he said.

"Most people, about 80 per cent, are able to live through the illness at home as they might with a bad cold or a flu-like illness. But for the other 20 per cent, some need hospital assistance at home, or support from GP, and others end up in hospital."

Fifty people in NSW have died from the virus and 102 so far across Australia.

Anyone with mild symptoms are urged to go and get tested.

Anyone with mild symptoms are urged to go and get tested.

"It will be some time before we are sure there's no further risk of infection and hopefully we won't have to reimpose restrictions because the virus gets away from us again," Mr Corben said.

"If you have even the mildest of symptoms, come forward and be tested.

"Our job is to identify people who have the virus, find out where they may have picked up that virus and where they may have passed it on to others.

"With this virus, it is easily transmitted and that exponential growth in cases increases very rapidly. That's what overwhelms health systems."

There are COVID-19 testing clinics at Port Base Hospital, Kempsey Hospital, at Wauchope and Laurieton.

People are urged to attend those clinics or make an appointment with their GP.

For the assessment clinics at Port Macquarie and Kempsey hospitals call 1300 001 956 for details.

The Port Macquarie clinic is open from 10am to 4pm weekdays. Patients are asked to present to the emergency department where they will be assessed.

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This story All patients COVID-clear, but we're not out of the woods first appeared on Camden Haven Courier.