Virus tests fast-tracked

Residents in country NSW will be better protected from potential coronavirus outbreaks thanks to "game changing" new technology.

Dubbo has been selected as one of three hubs in regional NSW to analyse COVID-19 tests without requiring them to be sent to Sydney.

The other hubs are located in Wagga Wagga and Bega.

A NSW Health Pathology spokeswoman said these hubs provide vital faster-testing capabilities to help curb the spread of the virus.

Until now people had to wait 48 to 72 hours for their COVID-19 test result, but the hubs will see results returned in around 24 hours.

Virus tests taken across the Western NSW Local Health District, along with Broken Hill, will all now be sent to the Dubbo hub for lab analysis.

"Having the BD Max [laboratory testing machine] now onsite at Dubbo is the game changer," the pathology spokeswoman said.

"It means faster turnaround times for non-urgent COVID-19 testing.

"Fast, accurate testing enables early diagnosis and management of COVID-19 cases, which is vital for the protection of the community and to curb the spread of the virus."

The NSW Health Pathology spokeswoman urged people to be vigilant to potential virus symptoms.

"As restrictions ease gradually, it is crucial to come forward for testing, even if you only have minor symptoms," she said.

"Common symptoms include cough, sore or scratch throat, shortness of breath or fever."

Thousands of COVID-19 tests have been conducted across the Central West.

As of Thursday, 13 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in NSW. 11 of the cases are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

PICTURED: Scientist Alice Woon working at the BD Max testing machine. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE