A Sydney man who spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Victoria has tested positive to COVID-19 after returning to NSW and working at a supermarket.
He worked at the Woolworths store in Balmain between June 27 and 28 and 50 employees are now in isolation after being identified as close contacts.
The store has undergone a deep clean.
NSW Health chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the man tested positive to the virus after his employer noticed he had minor symptoms.
The man had been in hotel quarantine in Victoria from June 11 to June 26 after flying from Bangladesh. He tested positive to COVID-19 on day four of his quarantine period.
Dr Chant said he was assessed as not infectious and cleared of the virus before he was discharged, but it’s unclear if this assessment included another COVID-19 test.
He reported “persistent symptoms” to NSW Health in Sydney and is believed to have been at the “tail end” of the infection while he was working.
“The level of virus detected is very, very low … but because he’s also got symptoms we’re just treating this as the utmost of precaution that he may be infectious,” Dr Chant said on Thursday.
“We do assess the risk as low.
“If you are symptom free 72 hours and it’s been at least 10 days since your onset of your symptoms, then you are deemed non-infectious.”
She said remnants of the virus may still exist in people for up to eight weeks, but people are deemed non-infectious if they’re symptom free for 72 hours and if at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
“For the utmost of caution we are treating him as possibly infectious,” she said.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people who had shopped at the store should be “alert”.
Mr Hazzard thanked Woolworths for acting quickly.
“His employer, a manager in the store, asked him to have another test because he obviously had some sort of symptoms and that test has come back positive,” he said.
“We’ve got to work on the basis that it’s positive, although sometimes these come back to be false positives, but right now we have to work on the basis that it’s a positive.
Dr Chant said the man worked in the self-service section of grocery store and was considered “low-level” of infectiousness.
“The reports from Woolworths was there wasn’t really any overcrowding … even though it’s quite a compact store.”
Dr Chant said when he was also wearing a mask when he travelled from Melbourne to Sydney, but health authorities would contact passengers in the adjacent rows as a precaution.