A significant increase in COVID-19 cases within the Murrumbidgee Local Health District overnight has prompted renewed calls for vigilance, including limited travel to Albury.
The total number of cases reported in the health district during the current outbreak rose dramatically from 132 to 183 overnight, 120 of these from Albury.
The MLHD's executive director of medical services, Dr Len Bruce, said it is not advisable for people from Wagga - and other parts of the Riverina - to travel into Albury for recreational purposes while there is community transmission of the virus ongoing.
"It would be prudent to [restrict] travel to that area to essential travel, especially if you're not vaccinated," he said.
"We would advise people to reconsider if they have to go there."
Dr Bruce said the spike in cases is "not unexpected", because "we know that once the public health restrictions were eased ... that there would be an increase in case numbers".
A lockdown of Albury is not currently being touted by health officials, either, with Dr Bruce saying lockdown's were "a strategy before people were vaccinated".
"We were essentially faced with a very infectious virus that caused severe illness ... now we have very effective vaccines available," he added.
"Whether or not there may be limited restrictions in specific groups, that may be required, but we'll leave that to the public health response and also to the NSW department of health."
A number of the COVID cases in Albury are residents of the Mercy Place aged care facility, where two residents have passed away after testing positive to the virus.
Dr Bruce said that Mercy Place is in lockdown, and the current restrictions at aged care facilities in the region run by the MLHD - allowing residents two fully-vaccinated visitors for up to two hours a day - remain unchanged.
"I can assure the community that that is being managed as per the facilities outbreak management plan, with support from the Commonwealth and the appropriate local health district," he said.
Of the cases announced today, an unspecified majority are young people aged between 12 and 24.
Dr Bruce is encouraging people within this age bracket to come forward for vaccination.
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"We know that the older you are the more severe your risk is [if infected with COVID] ... clearly our vaccination priority was initially focused on the more mature age group," he said.
"We would encourage the younger groups to get out and get vaccinated."
Currently, more than 90 per cent of eligible Riverina residents have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
"It's really exciting for us because we want to be as vaccinated as possible," Dr Bruce said.
"We can expect that within the next two to three weeks more than 90 per cent of eligible people in the MLHD will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19."
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