COVID-19 activity remains stable but at high levels in NSW. Influenza cases are also on the rise and are now at a high level.

According to NSW Health, the number of people presenting to emergency departments with respiratory symptoms is also increasing.

In the week ending in June 15, there was a 12 per cent decrease in positive COVID-19 notifications but an increase of 33 per cent of influenza in laboratory tests.

In the Hunter New England area – which includes Gunnedah – there were 525 recorded cases of COVID in the week ending in June 15 and 489 recorded cases of the flu. Hunter New England Health was unable to provide specific case numbers for the Gunnedah area.

To avoid the risk of becoming ill this winter season, the same advice continues to apply such as washing your hands, not touching your face and keeping your distance from those who are sick.

Karen Carter from Carter’s Pharmacy Gunnedah urged people to stay up to date with vaccinations and to eat healthy. She says that “there’s quite a lot of infections around”.

“Make sure to eat colourful foods, fruit and veg to help keep well,” she said.

“If you are well, get vaccinated. It’s important to have coverage at the moment. Prevention is better than cure.”

Vaccinations are encouraged to reduce the severity of illness. For anyone aged 65 and over, it is recommended every six months for a COVID booster jab. Those aged between 18-64 are eligible for a booster every 12 months. Karen stressed that “it’s not too late to get a vaccine”.

“[Vaccine uptake] is not as good this year compared to last year,” she said.

“But we are still encouraging those who can to get vaccinated.”

COVID jabs are free for everyone living in Australia, including those without a Medicare card. Flu vaccinations are free for those such as children aged six months to five years, Indigenous people and those 65 and over. Both flu and COVID vaccines are available at your local pharmacies.

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