Shoalhaven and South Coast residents now have better access to COVID-19 testing with a dedicated assessment clinic now open at Shoalhaven District Hospital.
The Nowra-based operation is one of two new testing clinics opened by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District on Monday, with the other at Shellharbour Hospital.
Plans for a similar clinic at Milton Ulladulla Hospital are underway and details will be shared shortly.
ISLHD public health director Curtis Gregory said the opening of the two clinics - as well as the existing clinic at the Wollongong Hospital campus - would ease pressure on those hospital's emergency departments.
He said those who fit the criteria could now be tested and treated more quickly.
"We are encouraging the community to be aware of the criteria for COVID-19 testing to ensure we can prioritise and protect anyone at high risk of infection," he said.
"Those who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days, and most importantly, are also showing fever and/or respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or sore throat are encouraged to attend the clinic. Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases are also within the criteria for such testing."
People do not need a GP referral, however they should call ahead to make sure they do fit the criteria, and to help minimise waiting times.
It comes after another spike in cases across the state - with an additional 136 new cases confirmed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 669.
In the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District there are at least seven confirmed cases, including a female patient at Shoalhaven Hospital who tested positive last Thursday.
Patients, staff and visitors who were close contacts have been contacted, and told to self-isolate as a precaution.
The health district has reiterated that unless there is an ongoing risk to public health, information relating to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be released.
The Shoalhaven Hospital clinic is in the hospital grounds, off what previously was the main hospital entry in Shoalhaven Street.
The clinic being used was the former location of the blood bank and more recently the oncology section.
Full car parking facilities off Shoalhaven Street have been reserved and dedicated for the clinic's operation.
The clinic will operate from 8.30am to 4.30pm, seven days a week, however there is a lunch break for staff from 12.30-1pm.
To contact the clinic phone 1300 002 108.
The clinic is well signposted and if in doubt just follow the green line which has been painted on pathways to the clinic.
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