COVID-19 has been found in Coolamon for the first time and another case was detected in Wagga at the weekend as the Murrumbidgee Local Health District recorded the region's second-worst day of the pandemic yet.
The MLHD announced 47 cases yesterday, with one a resident of Wagga, one of Coolamon, 38 of Albury and the remainder from Berrigan, Greater Hume and Murray River local government areas.
Coolamon mayor John Seymour said with the first case being recorded for his shire, it just goes to show how crucial vaccinations are.
"Coolamon Shire has been well up in the vaccination percentages, which is great to see," he said.
"But anyone with symptoms should get tested, and those who are not vaccinated should get in and get it done. It is the only way we are ever going to get on top of this."
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey echoed his neighbour's call for residents to get vaccinated.
"I keep saying, COVID-19 is not going to go away, and the only way we can live with it is if we are double-vaxxed," he said.
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"The case in Wagga is sad news, and I believe we can expect more cases in the weeks ahead. I urge the community to be cautious and abide by all the rules."
Riverina GP Alam Yoosuff said the outbreak in the region has shown the only way to live with COVID-19 is for people to get the jab, urging residents to book in for their vaccine.
The Finley-based doctor is also the director of primary health for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District but spoke in his capacity as a GP.
Dr Yoosuff said the way the state is dealing with coronavirus has shifted considering how in September, just a couple of cases sent Albury into lockdown.
"But when we have about 50 cases, we don't go into lockdown," he said.
"We are diverting from a zero COVID policy to living with it without the catastrophe. It's becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated."
As of late Sunday afternoon, no new exposure sites had been listed in the MLHD.
Dr Yoosuff said while overall, the state's statistics show that 84.4 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, there are some communities where the uptake has been slow.
"If you drill down into some of the elderly, vulnerable or remote communities, the vaccination rates are low,' he said.
"It is time that the governments and health authorities pivot their approach to targeted vaccinations in these communities."
Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have recently and repeatedly been detected in sewage in Wagga's Kooringal treatment plant and at Jerilderie.
People in these areas are advised to monitor for any symptoms and get tested if they have even the mildest symptoms.
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