Research released by the Australian actuarial and consulting firm Finity, in partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has revealed the Kempsey area is one of the more vulnerable areas if a coronavirus outbreak occurs.
Kempsey was ranked as the sixth most disadvantaged town in regional NSW according to data released by Catholic Social Services and compiled by a team at Australian National University's Centre for Social Research Methods last month.
The new research by Finity and and UNSW has ranked each postcode in Australia based on underlying health issues in the area's population including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and lung disease.
Each postcode was then given a score between one and 100; the higher the number, the more vulnerable residents would be if an outbreak were to occur.
The Kempsey postcode received a score of 98, placing it in a "red zone" and highlighting it as an area of concern.
Finity principal and lead researcher Aaron Cutter said the research is solely based on underlying health issues and if an area is red, it doesn't mean an outbreak is likely.
"Kempsey was used as one example in the research because it has a high number of underlying health concerns in residents and is also an area that many people will be familiar with. We found many of the other red zones were far more remote or had a much lower population," Mr Cutter told the Argus.
"The research isn't meant to make people jump at shadows, we just wanted to provide the information to communities and policy makers so that if there is an outbreak, it can be managed in an efficient way.
"It's not a predictor of outbreaks in an area. It's not attempting to look at transmission of diseases, and it certainly doesn't look at the effect of social distancing measures that are in place."
The Kempsey Local Government Area's confirmed number of COVID-19 cases still stands at four.
As of 8pm on May 10 the Mid North Coast Health District has had a total of 50 cases of COVID-19, with 47 now recovered.
"The areas with high susceptibility to more serious illnesses, like COVID-19, have been away from where the outbreaks have been occurring," Mr Cutter said.
"Kempsey, like many areas, has a mix of people who live there. This research doesn't necessarily mean everyone in the community is at risk if an outbreak occurs, but there are a number of vulnerable people in that particular area," Mr Cutter said.
"The information from the research can be used in conjunction with other information to make decisions on a case by case basis by councils and health officials."
With some restrictions set to ease from Friday, residents are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing rules and good hygiene practices.
You can view the susceptibility map here.