Public and private hospitals in Albury-Wodonga have postponed non-urgent surgery in line with a national directive to better prepare for a coronavirus-related influx on the same day the number of COVID-19 cases in Albury increased to four.
A further two positive tests have been recorded in the Federation Council area among a total of nine additional cases confirmed on Wednesday in the wider Murrumbidgee Local Health District, which also takes in Wagga and Griffith.
Albury previously had only one reported COVID-19 case up until Wednesday when Albury Wodonga Health announced only emergency and urgent elective surgeries including heart, neurological and cancer procedures would proceed.
The changed surgery arrangements were announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday with AWH medical services executive director Glenn Davies confirming planning for their introduction had commenced late Monday.
"All other surgery in category two and three, which is elective and non-essential surgery, has been postponed," he said.
"We've done that to limit the amount of contact or unnecessary contact between patients, families and clinical staff and to preserve supplies.
"There is obviously a lot of elective surgery that had been booked ahead of time.
"It is impossible to put a timeframe on it, but there is always provision if patients become unwell or their surgery becomes urgent and they step up into that category one and we will operate."
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Murrumbidgee Local Health District public health deputy director Alison Nikitas said the nine new cases have related to overseas travel.
"We haven't seen any community transmission so far," she said.
"A lot of those people that have come back overseas once the borders were closed, have now come back into 14 days of isolation and have developed symptoms over that time.
"We've had a variety of different places where people have travelled.
"Some have been to New Zealand, some have been on cruises, we don't have any cases so far that are linked to the Ruby Princess."
All patients have experienced mild to moderate symptoms and were presently in self isolation.
None of the cases identified were inpatients at either the Albury or Wodonga hospitals and were being managed at home with the support of their GP.
Further details about the three new cases were unavailable due to patient confidentiality.
AWH pandemic response Sally Squire said the community had to maintain the fight against COVID-19.
"We have no positive cases sitting in our Albury or Wodonga campuses, but we are working hard around a lot of those strategies to prevent the spread or transmission of COVID around our community," she said.
Ms Squire said the 41-year-old male, who was the initial Albury coronavirus case, was "being supported and doing all the right things at home".
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