Testing claims of 'false positive' COVID in Bega Valley

Despite the Delta variant of COVID-19 being highly contagious, the Bega Valley has thankfully not seen further cases than the two confirmed in Merimbula last Thursday morning.

Following the announcement, residents turned out in droves for drive-through COVID testing at both the South East Regional Hospital and a pop-up testing clinic at Club Sapphire. But at the time of going to print, there had been no additional positive cases recorded.

It has led to persistent chatter about "false positives" - chatter that's also been heard by those at the top.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro responded to questions from Australian Community Media on Tuesday about the current status of the Valley amid the global pandemic and what it may mean for our lockdown status.

"Yes I have been informed that it's possible that it's a false positive, and there's a further round of tests being conducted. So let's await that," Mr Barilaro said.

"That had been indicated to me - either yesterday afternoon or this morning. So there is a chance they are false positives and what will happen is it will go to another round of testing.

"When you get a positive [result], and a negative, then you go again."

Pop-up COVID testing clinic at Merimbula on Friday.

Pop-up COVID testing clinic at Merimbula on Friday.

Mr Barilaro said the chance of a false positive result in a COVID test was low, "but it is there and there have been a number of cases of false positives, but very low numbers".

"If so it will be good news as that means, if correct, there would be no cases in Bega at all.

"That's good news and we can consider what happens in the Bega Local Government Area."

While a lot of NSW regions came out of lockdown on Monday, the Bega Valley, along with neighbours Eurobodalla and Snowy-Monaro, remain under stay-at-home orders.

It's understood lockdowns remain in place for a minimum 14 days from the last confirmed community transmission exposure site.

According to the latest list of venues of concern from NSW Health, that would be September 7.

"I know down your way because I'm your neighbour there seems to be the sense people like the lockdown in remaining safer.

"But I find it hard to lock an area down based on no cases - that's a hard sell and you are sort of protected in the far corner of the state.

"Once we get the answer of the Merimbula case then we can be more affirmative about what we do for the next step."

To find your nearest testing clinic, visit the NSW Health website.

To book a vaccine visit the eligibility website.

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This story Testing claims of 'false positive' COVID in Bega Valley first appeared on Bega District News.