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South Coast testing clinics closure times

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COVID-19 testing clinics on the south coast will be closed for parts of the holiday period.

The Bega testing clinic which moved from the Old Bega Racecourse to South East Regional Hospital until January 4 will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as New Years Eve and New Years Day while the clinic at Moruya will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) advises those who are sick, showing symptoms, or confirmed close contacts to head to their nearest emergency department for testing, if needed during those times.

South East Regional Hospital's Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Vicki Charters, said people should avoid coming to emergency unless they really have to.

"Firstly, don't come and visit the hospital if you don't need to," Ms Charters said.

"We are currently restricting visitors to the hospital in the red alert," she said. 

"If you do need to come into the hospital please just come by yourself.

"We do have exceptions for those partners for parents with children or for pregnant women coming into Labour but we are restricting any other visitors."

New South Wales reported over 5,612 new cases to 8pm last night, with 17 in Southern NSW, including three new cases in the Bega Valley; one in Kalaru, Frogs Hollow and Bermagui, and three cases in the Eurobodalla; two in Batehaven and one in Batemans Bay.

The south coast recorded four new cases yesterday in Lilli Pilli, Malua Bay and Batemans Bay and one is in Candelo.

It brings the total cases under virtual care to seven in the Bega Valley and eight in the Eurobodalla. 

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If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, NSW Health recommend you get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative test result.

Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has activated its 2021/22 summer plan, ahead of the holiday season.

The District has robust response plans in place and is prepared to respond rapidly to any increase in demand for services that may arise in the situation with COVID-19.

The SNSWLHD summer plan includes service arrangements and a workforce strategy to ensure SNSWLHD can effectively maintain health services from December to February while supporting much needed breaks for health workers.

Hospital emergency departments will be open 24 hours a day and emergency surgery will continue to be performed over the Christmas/New Year period at SNSWLHD facilities.

South East Regional Hospital (SERH) and Pambula Hospital’s Director of Nursing and Midwifery Vicki Charters said there is already a noticeable increase of visitors to the area.

"We have everything in place to surge services as and when we need to," said Ms Charters.

"The summer plan has many contingencies to allow our hard-working staff to have a break without disrupting essential services.

"Emergency department (ED) operations and COVID-19 contact tracing, testing and vaccination will continue throughout."

The Pambula Hospital Assessment and Treatment Centre (ATC) will increase nursing staff to three nurses on each shift from 26 December to 31 January to support the increase in demand over the summer period.

There will be no medical cover at Pambula Hospital during this time to provide the local GPs a well-deserved break.

Any Pambula Hospital patients requiring inpatient care will be transferred to SERH from 20 December until 10 January.

The ATC is operated by skilled and experienced first line emergency care registered nurses.

The ATC is supported virtually by doctors, nurse practitioners and other medical staff.

Patients can also be transferred to SERH via Ambulance if their condition is urgent.

SNSWLHD is committed to providing the best care to coastal communities and can confirm there is no plan to close Pambula Hospital.

The summer plan includes bushfire and pandemic response strategies as well as the COVID- 19 booster vaccination program which will continue uninterrupted (public holidays excepted).

To find out more information on the latest COVID-19 restrictions click HERE.