Port Stephens doctors have called for zero tolerance social isolation measures to protect the area's high number of elderly residents from contracting coronavirus.
Tomaree Peninsula and Tea Gardens are home to the largest number of people aged over 65 in the state.
It is feared the area's mortality rate could rise significantly if the COVID-19 virus takes hold in the vulnerable communities.
It comes as another two cases of the virus were confirmed in the Hunter on Thursday taking the region's total to 13.
The traditional influx of Easter holiday makers who triple the population of Port Stephens, but who could potentially spread the virus, has been identified as a particular concern.
The prospect of fewer visitors only adds salt into the wounds of dozens of already battered businesses that have been holding out for the traditional holiday cash injection in the hope that it will help them stay afloat.
Nelson Bay GP Tony Plummersaid local doctors were supportive of any measures to reduce human to human contact in the community for the next three months.
"Our mission is simple - as you approach zero human contact you approach zero viral transmissions," Dr Plummer said.
"If there was a fire coming towards Lemon Tree Passage, the community would lock down to protect itself. The only difference between a fire and a virus is you can not see the virus coming."
"I have been telling my over 65-year-old patients that they can't have visits from their grandchildren. They can't have people dropping by their house. It's a bit of a shock to some of them but these are the sorts of things they need to be doing to stay safe."
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said the health crisis was threatening both lives and livelihoods across the community.
"In Port Stephens it's going to be particularly tough because we have an ageing, vulnerable population and an economy which relies on tourism," Ms Washington, who has written to Health Minister Brad Hazzard seeking a specific COVID-19 health plan for her electorate, said.
"Our tourism, hospitality and retail businesses are already struggling. With the ever increasing restrictions on movement and contact, it's likely to get a lot harder."
"As a community, we must act collectively and responsibly, with a focus on minimising risk and in doing so, save local lives. We must also ensure the government assists local businesses throughout these difficult times."
Many of the area's businesses have already suffered significant downturns as a result of the drop off in visitors. Boating and fishing operators have been particularly hard hit.
They include Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay ferry operator Shane Herrmann, who estimates he is now operating at about one third of his normal capacity.
At the same time his costs have doubled because he is using an extra boat to allow passengers to practise social distancing.
"Easter has always been one of the best times for us but this year it's a complete unknown," he said.
"The business has been going really well but it's a day-by-day proposition at the moment. I don't know if the government is about to shut us down."
"It they do shut us down we might as well shut up shop and cut our losses."
Port Stephens tourism has decided not to proactively promote the area as a holiday destination this Easter due to the pandemic.
Mayor Ryan Palmer said the council was implementing the latest and best advice from health experts regarding how to contain the virus but stressed the importance of keeping Port Stephens "open for business".
"Our elderly residents are an incredibly valuable part of our community, but so too are the young people and families who live here," he said.
"Health is the number one concern for us but people's welfare is important too. Keeping people in jobs is a major part of looking after their welfare."
Hunter New England Health has now opened an additional COVID-19 screening clinic at the Calvary Mater Newcastle.
There are also clinics at John Hunter and Maitland hospitals.
It follows the diagnosis of two new cases of the virus in the Hunter on Thursday.
There are now 307 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW, including 13 in the Hunter.
There have been five deaths, and 38,782 cases tested and excluded.
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