Health authorities in western NSW are ramping up community messaging and medical resources as the number of COVID-19 cases increase throughout the region.
Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan says the number of confirmed cases across the region – which includes regional hubs Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo – has hit 15 and is expected to further increase.
“This is an unprecedented time and it’s scary for our communities and our families,” Mr McLachlan told reporters on Wednesday.
Three fever clinics have been established in the regional cities, with another seven set to be established with Commonwealth support.
Mr McLachlan said talks are in place to work out whether these facilities should be in general practices or public spaces.
“They will be set up in the coming weeks and there is a significant investment going into this,” he said.
Five new ventilators have also been delivered and will be installed in hospitals across the region this week.
Mr McLachlan said additional in-patient staffing has taken place, with plans to “stabilise and grow out-patient speciality clinics and community-based clinics”.
He said Telehealth services will be utilised to provide community members with up-to-date information and support.
“We can bring services to your doorstep so if you do need our help then we’ll absolutely be available,” he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday told reporters regional areas of the state would not be spared from a future lockdown, even if they are coronavirus-free.
“We believe it’s appropriate to have one set of standards across the state because many people coming from overseas, coming off ships, are from regional NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We’re also recommending, and this has been in place for a substantial period of time … we don’t want people to travel around the state unless they absolutely have to.
“Whatever we put in place has to be for NSW.”