NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has defended the decision to delay Albury's return to lockdown until Thursday after two positive COVID cases were announced on Wednesday.
Mr Barilaro said the state government could have put the Border city straight back into lockdown after it learned of the cases, but opted to review the extent of the exposures before a call was made to return to stay-at-home orders from 6pm last night for seven days.
In the lead-up to parts of regional NSW being unlocked last week, Mr Barilaro said any positive cases in a local government area would lead to a 14-day lockdown, but he's taken a more flexible approach with Albury.
"There are exposures, but in one particular case it's not as severe as the other, so we're comfortable to have delayed that decision," Mr Barilaro said.
"The seven days (in lockdown) is because it is only two cases, one not as severe as the other in relation to exposure, so we should have the ability to have flexibility to give that community some hope that it might be a very short, sharp lockdown."
Stay-at-home orders apply to any NSW resident who has visited Albury since September 10, but it doesn't impact any Victorians who have crossed the border.
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Murrumbidgee Local Health District public health director Tracey Oakman felt the call to lockdown was the right one.
"I think with potential risks in our community, a lockdown is the safest thing to do until we can see if there was any cases out of the current exposures," she said
"It is a concern that it may be the start of a number of cases in our region, it doesn't take much to spread the Delta virus.
"So while we are endeavouring to make contact with anyone that their cases have been in contact with, sometimes, it's hard to be comprehensive with that.
"People don't often notice who they've walked past. So it's possibly the start of a number of cases in our region."
Ms Oakman urged residents to be "sensible" and not confuse symptoms with hay fever.
"If you do have any symptoms, respiratory symptoms, please don't write them off and say 'I'm not really sick, it's usual, I have this every year,' don't do that this year, get tested to rule it out just to make sure that you don't have COVID," she said.
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