The Riverina's health services are preparing for an expected spike in cases of COVID-19 across the region, following the diagnosis of 13 cases in the past week.
Jill Ludford, chief executive of the Murrumbidgee Local Health District said on Thursday that there would be an expected "doubling of the numbers every three days".
"There are three new cases that have been tested positive since yesterday [Wednesday]," Ms Ludford said.
"At the moment we've got people with mild to moderate symptoms but we know that in the coming weeks, and probably two very short weeks, we are going to see people who are sicker and sicker."
Elderly residents, those with weakened immunity and the region's Indigenous population are among those of greatest concern to the MLHD.
"If we do nothing, we will get more and more sick people. So this is an absolute plea to everyone of you to please follow the restrictions that have been put forward by our government," Ms Ludford said.
"That means staying at home. When I drove down Baylis Street the other day, why were all those people out as if it's business as usual? People need to be at home unless they have essential things they are doing such as [grocery] shopping or going to the doctor."
It was a sentiment that was echoed by independent state member for Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr, who joined Ms Ludford in addressing the crisis.
"We've now gone from the bushfire crisis to the COVID crisis and our responses is ramping up," Dr McGirr said.
"This is serious. We have activated the disaster response to cope with this. Stay at home, wash your hands and if you're sick, isolate.
"I'm asking the community to stop thinking about how you can get around the restrictions and start working with them."
There are three confirmed cases in Wagga, four in Albury, two in Federation LGA, two in Greater Hume, one in Griffith and one in Cootamundra-Gundagai LGA.
Ms Ludford could not expand on the specifics of the cases, in terms of their exact locality within the larger government areas.
But she said that each case so far is currently being treated at home while the patients adhere to a 14-day isolation.
"All of them have recently travelled overseas or been in contact with somebody else that has been only three of them have been on a cruise ship," she said.
The MLHD will trace the indoor places each patient has recently attended for more than two hours, and will contact anyone who has had more than 15 minutes close contact with the confirmed cases.
"People will have a daily check-up where we call them, see how they're travelling, doing a welfare check and [they will be] cared for through their GP or through the health services, depending on what their needs are," she said.
Over a 1000 tests have been conducted in the region, with new screening clinics to be set up in Deniliquin and Cootamundra soon.
The hope is to be able to treat most of the cases within the home to avoid placing stress on the region's 31 hospitals.
"We have engaged virtual technology to be able to have hospitals in the home," Ms Ludford said.
"We will absolutely save our base hospitals for those who need critical care."
The MLHD has also requested additional resources, including hospital ventilators, that will double the health network's ability to deal with more severe cases.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is actually one of the greatest threats that this community has faced," Ms Ludford said.
"There are simple things we can do in changing our behaviours that will change the outcomes of this virus."