NSW hits three million tests as community urged to remain vigilant

Eva Liu at the Castle Hill Showground COVID-19 testing clinic.

As the state marks three million COVID-19 tests since January, the NSW Government is calling on the community to continue to work together to fight the deadly virus.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said reaching three million tests was a major milestone in the State’s fight against COVID-19.

“I want to thank everyone in NSW who has come forward to be tested – three million COVID-19 tests is an incredible result,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“As we ease restrictions, it is critical that we maintain our high rates of testing which has been central to our success in limiting the spread of the virus and keeping NSW open.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned that while recent easing of restrictions is very welcome, it comes with risks and it is critical everyone keeps getting tested.

“This is a stealthy virus and if we give it an inch, it will take a mile and undo a lot of good work,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The community response to COVID-19 has been fantastic and I thank the people of NSW for their efforts and sacrifices during the past nine months, which have put us in a position where we have been able to ease restrictions.

“We hope to be able to continue to ease restrictions in the weeks and months ahead, but this depends on us being successful in minimising community transmission.”

As at 8pm on 26 October 2020, 3,000,641 COVID-19 tests had been performed on 2,247,101 people in NSW. Of those people tested, 63.7 per cent had a single test and 36.3 per cent had more than one test, with 1.16 per cent having more than five tests.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it was critical that people continue to come forward for testing and practice COVID-safe behaviours when out and about and catching up with family and friends.

“When we have high numbers of people continuing to get tested, that allows us to detect cases in the community earlier and prevent onward transmission,” Dr Chant said.

“Get tested at the first sign of even the mildest of symptoms, wash your hands regularly, physically distance and wear a mask when using public transport and in places where you can’t physically distance.

“We have been able to get the recent clusters under control with the support of the community, but their emergence shows that the risk of a resurgence of cases in NSW remains very real.”

Restrictions eased recently by the NSW Government include:

  • 30 people can now gather outdoors in public spaces (previously the rule was 20 people). It remains a maximum of 20 people in households;
  • There can be 30 customers per booking, and 30 customers per table, at hospitality venues (previously the rule was a maximum of 10 customers);
  • Corporate functions of up to 300 people can now be held at any appropriate premises, including at restaurants, subject to a COVID safety plan (previously it was just function centres);
  • Religious gatherings/places of worship (excluding weddings and funerals) can have up to 300 people, subject to a COVID-19 safety plan; and
  • Gyms are now only required to have a COVID-19 safety marshal if there are more than 20 people in the gym at one time.

Additionally, from 1 December 2020, the number of people who can attend weddings will be increased to 300 people subject to the four square metre rule indoors and two square metre rule outdoors. This will allow people to make plans and book venues knowing the capacity ahead of time.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP.

Most people receive their results within 24 hours.