As we head into the long weekend with the green light on local tourism, Hunter New England Health is warning residents not to let COVID-19 tag along for the ride.
Public Health Physician, Dr David Durrheim said that while it's exciting we can finally travel and enjoy some adventure on the weekend, there is a possibility that the virus is still lurking.
"The reality is that there is no vaccine available for COVID-19 yet so we still have to embrace our new normal of standing back, washing our hands very regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, and getting tested if symptomatic," he said.
While there have been no new cases of COVID-19 within Hunter New England for 4 weeks now, Dr Durrheim reminds us that each relaxation of the restrictions needs to be tested to see its effect on the virus' spread.
"We can't be in too much of a rush to return to pre-COVID life," he said. "We're not there yet."
"That doesn't mean we can't enjoy our long weekend travels, but with the number of people expected to take advantage of the relaxed travel restrictions, especially those from outside of our Region, it could be more difficult to remember these good habits.
"The last thing we want is to go backwards just when things are starting to look good."
Dr Durrheim also urges anyone with any cold or flu-like symptoms to avoid travel, isolate at home and arrange testing as soon as possible.
Anyone experiencing fever or the recent onset of respiratory symptoms, even mild ones, including a cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat should contact their GP, or present to their local hospital or COVID-19 clinic for testing.
Clinics continue to operate at Calvary Mater Newcastle, John Hunter, Maitland, Belmont, and Cessnock.