Another Sydney nurse has reportedly tested positive to COVID-19, with four wards at the Royal North Shore Hospital now affected as authorities brace for the possibility of a cluster in the major public hospital.
NSW Health has not yet announced the second case but Sydney radio 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham said it was “my belief that it will be confirmed in due course”.
“This has led to three extra wards being essentially shut down or quarantined in some way … on top of the cardio ward that was impacted yesterday,” he said on Thursday.
The ABC is reporting that a hospital source has confirmed the infection.
On Wednesday NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed an unvaccinated 24-year-old student nurse who worked at RNS and Fairfield hospitals had the virus, sending more than 100 patients and staff into isolation.
She worked for five days while potentially infectious. Her infection is yet to be linked to a known case but one of her household contacts had also tested positive.
“The wards that that staff member worked at have been locked down, so that’s not taking any additional patients,” Dr Chant said.
“We have also followed up any patients that have been discharged from those wards. We are also arranging testing for any staff that may have come in contact.”
The nurse’s positive test came in late Tuesday and will officially be part of Thursday’s COVID figures.
NSW had 22 new local coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the tally for the outbreak that began on June 16 to 171.
All are linked to previous cases, but only 11 were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.
An update for Thursday is expected at 11am.
Meanwhile, NSW Health has apologised to Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello for giving him incorrect advice about his exposure to a COVID-19 positive cabinet colleague.
Mr Dominello is back in isolation after the department mistakenly told him he no longer needed to quarantine after being in contact with Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall. Mr Marshall was diagnosed with COVID-19 last Thursday after dining at a Paddington pizzeria on the previous Monday.
- See an updated list of NSW exposure sites here
NSW Health initially determined his proximity to Mr Dominello in parliament, during Question Time, on Tuesday last week, was for an extended period of time, making Mr Dominello a close contact.
Mr Dominello left isolation on Saturday after receiving a negative test result and advice from NSW Health that he had since been classified as a casual contact.
“NSW Health has apologised to Minister Dominello for this error and acknowledges that he was following the health advice we provided to him,” NSW Health said in a statement.
He returned to isolation when contacted late on Wednesday by NSW Health to advise that he remained a close contact. An urgent COVID-19 test was performed and he returned a negative result.
Meanwhile, NSW Health has issued health alerts for numerous bus and train routes as well as more than 20 venues in Sydney’s east, south and west.