With fully vaccinated Bathurst residents set to emerge from lockdown on Monday, the Western NSW Local Health District is reminding the Bathurst community to continue taking testing, vaccinations and public health orders seriously.
In the 24 hours to 8pm Thursday, Bathurst recorded five new cases of COVID-19, none of whom were infectious in the community and a vast majority believed to already be in isolation.
But with testing numbers "concerningly low" [below 2200 across the health district across Thursday], WNSWLHD chief executive officer Scott McLachlan said now is not the time for complacency.
"On any day of the week, any corner of any street or any shop, someone could be carrying COVID-19 in the community," Mr McLachlan said.
"There's been COVID cases infectious in the community over the last couple of weeks in Bathurst, so there's a fair chance more cases are floating around.
"The low testing rates are a real concern in Bathurst, so can I urge anyone who's asymptomatic to come and get tested, even if you think it may just be a bit of hay fever, you never know."
Mr McLachlan said there's also still a way to go to get the region to an ideal vaccination target, and has strongly urged more people to consider getting vaccinated, and to especially ensure second dosage appointments are attended.
"There's still at least 10 per cent of the community that needs a first dose and 30 per cent that need a second, and lifting the vaccination rate will be crucial in the weeks ahead to enjoy greater freedoms," he said.
"The roadmap has indicated there will be limitations until December for people who aren't single or double-dosed, vaccination is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and the numbers of people ending up really sick in hospital."
Mr McLachlan is entering his final weeks as the WNSWLHD chief executive officer, after announcing yesterday that he will assume the same role with the Central Coast Local Health District on November 10.
"After eight years in this role, I believe it's time for me to take on a new challenge, and to also allow a fresh leadership approach in this region," he said.
"This was my first posting as a chief executive and I've both learned from, and enjoyed the role. It's been a privilege to work with our exceptional clinical workforce, all the supporting services, our leadership team and board, and our local communities.
"The last two years have been an exceptional test of health services around the world, and our Local Health District has shown it has great clinical talent, leadership and resilience in not just responding to those challenges, but often leading the way in the regional COVID response."
"It's been a challenging role, but I could not have asked for a more rewarding experience.
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