Western NSW health boss Scott McLachlan's warning this week that it was "only a matter of time" before the deadly COVID-19 returned to the region has proven prophetic with a case confirmed in Orange on Friday.
After emerging from 14 days of self-isolation, the Western NSW Local Health District chief executive's warning was accompanied by advice that may help settle the nerves of residents learning of the first coronavirus case in the region in months.
In Dubbo, Mr McLachlan told of the ramping up of testing for COVID-19 in the region, more contact tracers being trained and continued efforts to recruit clinicians.
The chief executive, who spent 15 minutes buying milk and bread in a Salamander Bay shopping centre around the same time a man infected with the coronavirus was in the complex, was in "no doubt" on Thursday that the region had not seen the last of the coronavirus.
He pointed to "heartbreaking" community transmission of COVID-19 in other states and "people travelling in and out of our region".
At the health district's headquarters in Hawthorn Street, Mr McLachlan implored Western NSW residents to wear a mask when they were unable to social distance, cough and sneeze into their arms and wash or sanitise hands regularly.
He also asked them to get tested for COVID-19 if they had respiratory symptoms including a cough or sore throat.
"We are taking all the steps that we can to increase the rate of testing," Mr McLachlan said.
"In the last four weeks alone we've done over 12,000 tests in the region.
"That's over 30,000 in total since the coronavirus started.
"All of our hospitals and emergency departments have the ability to test you 24 hours a day if you do have symptoms."
The chief executive said people were "flocking" to three mobile testing teams moving through small towns.
"..on average 80 to 90 people a day isn't unusual," he said.
"We know that this is the time when we need tentacles into all parts of our region to make sure that if people do have symptoms, we're testing very quickly and very early."
The chief executive said an extra 115 people had been trained to be contact tracers in the region with the "vast majority" of them health workers who "wouldn't need to play a role clinically if we did have a mass outbreak".
Mr McLachlan said a recruitment drive to date had secured 100 clinicians but more would be needed.
"Our workforce risk is significant," he said.