Moree mayor ‘shocked, saddened’ by scare

The mayor of Moree in regional NSW says she’s “shocked and saddened” residents may have been exposed to COVID-19 after an infected Melbourne woman travelled through the town.

The woman made stops in Gillenbah, Dubbo, Forbes and Moree on her way to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, where she tested positive for the virus.

More than 10 venues in the four towns have been identified by NSW Health as potential exposure sites, with more expected to join the list.

Among them are service stations, cafes and a cinema in Dubbo.

In Moree, exposure sites include the Amaroo Tavern, Cafe Omega, Woolworths and the Gwydir Thermal Pools Motel and Caravan Park.

Exposure at the sites occurred at various times on June 3, 4 and 5.

NSW Health says anyone who attended the listed venues must immediately get tested and isolate until they receive further information from authorities.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty also urged anyone who has been in any of the affected towns to monitor for symptoms and get tested if unwell.

More than 340 contacts have been uncovered to date and four pop-up testing clinics have been established.

“Anyone who resides, works in or has visited these areas since June 1 needs to be especially vigilant,” Dr McAnulty said.

NSW nevertheless recorded zero new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday from almost 20,000 tests. Almost 1.6 million vaccinations have been administered in NSW to date.

Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries reassured locals in a statement on Thursday that “we will get through this”.

“As usual we will be totally responsible and get on with getting tested and staying safe and looking after each other,” Cr Humphries said.

“We will have a few anxious days and be inconvenienced, however, if we do get any positive results back, we need to be mindful and caring.

“Virtual hugs to you all and remain the stoic and amazing community you always have been.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the Melbourne woman developed symptoms on June 3, and it is believed she could have been infectious on June 1, the day she left Melbourne.

She was travelling with her husband, who has also tested virus-positive.

Authorities in Queensland and NSW are working to track down contacts and investigate whether the couple broke COVID restrictions.

The woman and her husband left Melbourne while the city was in lockdown, purportedly making a permanent move to Queensland. The couple is now at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

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