Tomaree Peninsula residents with cold and flu symptoms are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 at a new clinic opening at Tomaree Community Hospital on Monday.
Hunter New England Health's public health physician Dr David Durrheim said although the district has been successful in suppressing COVID-19 so far, this new Nelson Bay clinic will assist in efforts to "identify any reintroduction of COVID-19 in the community".
"With the cold and flu season in full swing, this is a great opportunity for those experiencing cold and flu symptoms to get tested," Dr Durrheim said.
"We don't expect to find large numbers of cases at this point, but testing is the only way we will know for sure whether those winter sniffles are anything more sinister."
The new Tomaree Community Hospital COVID-19 testing clinic, to be run by Laverty Pathology and Hunter New England Health, aims to boost testing numbers in the community.
Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath is urged to get tested.
Even residents with mild symptoms such as fatigue, new muscle aches or pains, a change in taste or smell or a new runny nose are encouraged to arrange testing.
The clinic will operate from 8.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday starting on July 6.
Hunter New England Health said it is preferable for patients seeking a COVID-19 test to obtain a pathology referral from their own GP.
However, patients without a referral will be attended onsite prior to testing.