COVID-positive woman from Newcastle who visited Tamworth speaks up, calls for calm

TESTING: Masses of locals turned up for a COVID-19 swab after a list of five exposure sites in Tamworth was released by health authorities. Photo: Peter Hardin
TESTING: Masses of locals turned up for a COVID-19 swab after a list of five exposure sites in Tamworth was released by health authorities. Photo: Peter Hardin

A YOUNG woman, thought to have been infectious with COVID-19 when she visited Tamworth in northern NSW, has spoken up to defend herself after living through some of the "most stressful" days of her life.

The woman outed herself as the Newcastle visitor who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Tamworth via a social media post on Monday, after it was announced Tamworth would be plunged into a snap seven-day lockdown.

The woman confirmed she had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that she was in Tamworth on Thursday morning, sparking NSW Health to release five exposure sites in the city.

She had come to visit family prior to Newcastle's lockdown announcement at 11am on Thursday.

"No, I did not break any rules and did the right thing when they announced Newcastle's lockdown and immediately got tested and began isolating," she said.

It is understood the patient sought out a swab after she heard about the Newcastle lockdown, and it was only when it came back positive that she realised she was infected.

The young woman pleaded with Tamworth residents to be kind amid some of the "most stressful days" of her life.

"I've been relocated in the middle of the night to better isolate, I've spent hours on the phone with NSW Health, my friends are in hospital and I'm very unwell," she said in her statement.

"I was not in lockdown, I was not a close contact and I had no symptoms on Thursday. There was nothing to stop me from visiting my family and friends in Tamworth. I am a Tamworth girl. What happened to country hospitality? What happened to looking after your neighbour?"

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She was sorry to hear Tamworth had been put under a seven-day lockdown order, but said she was cooperating with authorities, including police and health.

Oxley Police District commander Superintendent Kylie Endemi told the Leader investigations into how COVID-19 was brought back to Tamworth, and whether any orders may have been broken, were continuing.

She reminded the community that now is not the time to blame any one person, but a time to band together and get through a challenging time.

Stay-at-home orders come into effect for the Tamworth local government area from 5pm on Monday evening.

Drive-through testing is available at the Plain Street carpark or at AELEC, between 8am and 5pm daily.

The Leader has chosen not to name the young woman for privacy reasons.

This story How it feels to unknowingly spark a COVID lockdown first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.