WHILE a top health official believes NSW as a whole may have reached the peak of its latest COVID wave, cases in the region continue to rise.
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Between December 1 and December 8, there were a total of 1449 COVID cases across Bathurst (405), Orange (418) and Dubbo (626) local government areas.
But the seven days up to December 15 saw an increase, with a total of 449 for Bathurst, 504 for Orange and 716 for Dubbo.
The day prior to the release of these figures, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said it appeared as though the state had reached its COVID peak during the week.
"A number of indicators suggest we have reached the peak of the COVID-19 wave," she said in a video message.
"While this is good news, we are still seeing a high number of cases across the state and encourage you and the community at large to remain vigilant and take some simple steps to protect yourself and others."
The peak of waves in regional areas have typically come a week or two after that of city areas.
The Western NSW Local Health District has urged people to remain vigilant.
"We know COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities and as we enter the holiday season, when people travel more and come together to celebrate, it is important that we continue to take steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities," a spokesman for the Western NSW LHD said.
"The most important way to protect yourself is to make sure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date, and the COVID-safe behaviours we have all become so familiar with are simple, effective steps we can all take to help stop any spread."
Although cases in those three previously mentioned cities have risen collectively in the past week compared with the seven days prior, reported cases across the remainder of the Western NSW LHD decreased by 123.
Test results across the region in the seven days up to December 15 included 603 positive PCR tests and 563 positive RATs, although Dr Chant admitted the latter were not always reliable in the early stages.
"RAT tests often will not pick up COVID early on in the process," she said.
"As we head into the festive season, many of us are gearing up to travel and attend end-of-year events. It's really important to remember to keep doing the little things to keep us safe during this time."
This message was repeated by the Western NSW LHD.
"If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or you have any symptoms, be responsible and stay at home. If you do need to go out, wear a mask, don't visit high-risk settings like hospitals or aged-care facilities and avoid large gatherings or indoor places.
"Keep washing and sanitising your hands regularly, get tested if you don't feel well, avoid shared plates of foods or utensils and consider doing a rapid antigen test before attending any celebrations, particularly if you'll be with people at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19."
Testing rates within Western NSW remain in line with the state as a whole, with Bathurst (49 per 1000), Orange (47 per 1000) and Dubbo (56 per 1000) all above the NSW average of 46 per 1000.
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