With lockdowns being lifted in the local government areas of Cabonne and Blayney, and nearly 90 percent of Orange's eligible population now receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, many are asking when lockdown will be lifted for the city.
Western NSW Local Health District (WNLHD) chief executive Scott McLachlan said that one of the stipulations of lifting stay-at-home orders was a 14-day period of no COVID cases infectious in the community.
"That means that Orange is coming up on that in the coming days," he said.
"There's a state-wide panel that looks at these on a weekly basis, particularly with any new cases in communities, to assess the scale of risk... [and] they'll help us to weigh up some of the other things [necessary to lift lockdown]."
Other factors will include sewerage testing and how many people in the community are continuing to show up for testing.
This latter aspect could be the one which poses a problem to Orange opening up due to testing numbers continuing to be worryingly low.
Over the weekend, there were just 457 people tested in Orange, Mr McLachlan said.
Testing numbers are nearly at a record low in Orange.Scott McLachlan
"If anything, the testing numbers are nearly at a record low in Orange," he said.
With surveillance testing now implemented in the city as well as across the region, the health boss hoped testing numbers would increase.
Surveillance testing means that those who have not been a close or casual contact, and are not displaying symptoms, do not need to isolate while waiting for a result.
Mr McLachlan also urged residents to continue to get vaccinated, with Moderna expected to arrive at Orange pharmacies sometime between this week and next.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all those aged between 12 and 59 years old.
As of 8pm Sunday, September 19, 10 new cases of COVID were identified in the WNLHD: Dubbo (6), Walgett (3) and Cowra (1).
In total, there has been 1073 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in WNLHD.
There has also been no virus fragments detected in sewage samples taken from areas without known or recent cases of COVID-19.
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