NSW will lock down the northern city of Tamworth from Monday night, amid fears the state’s COVID crisis has spread further.
There were 283 more local coronavirus infections in NSW on Monday and the toll from the state’s current outbreak also rose further.
The death of an unvaccinated woman in her 90s from northern Sydney takes to 29 the number of people who have died in the latest outbreak.
Of Monday’s cases, 106 spent at least some time in the community while infectious. The isolation status of another 71 remains under investigation.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a COVID-positive person from Newcastle had travelled to Tamworth last week. She was unaware she was infectious when visited several venues in the north-eastern city.
There are so far no other cases in the town, but the number of exposure sites has prompted health advice for a one-week lockdown.
The two venues of most concern are the Inland Cafe, 407 Peel Street, from 9.15-10, and the Tudor Hotel, 327 Peel Street, from 11-11.40am, on August 5.
- See all of NSW’s virus exposure sites here
Tamworth will join other areas of NSW, including greater Sydney and its surrounds, in lockdown from 5pm Monday.
Ms Berejiklian also urged people in the state’s north to get tested for the virus after it emerged that a man later confirmed with COVID travelled from Sydney to Byron Bay.
He is also thought to have also spent some time in the town of Lismore.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said investigations were underway after the man, who is in his 50s and has since been admitted to hospital, tested positive in the Byron area in late July.
Authorities are concerned about the potential spread of the virus in the northern rivers area.
“We do want to see testing numbers in that area increase,” she said.
The Canterbury-Bankstown local government area in Sydney remains the epicentre of the outbreak, with Ms Berejiklian urging people in adjoining suburbs to remain alert.
NSW has 349 virus patients in hospital, including 67 in intensive care.
The manager of the intensive care unit at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Richard Totaro, said staff had been looking after patients who were otherwise physically fit with no underlying health conditions.
“The remarkable thing about this disease is how incredibly sick patients can become,” he said.
“It’s a really difficult, really complex disease.”
He urged everyone over 18 to get vaccinated, warning that complications from COVID-19 could linger for months.
Queensland on alert
Queensland authorities are also watching the virus’ potential northern rivers spread with concern.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her team was waiting for more information from NSW Health.
“We’re starting to hear some issues around that,” she said.
Queensland had four more cases on Monday, as it also linked the infection of a Cairns taxi driver with an earlier case in the far north city.
Contact tracing efforts have been stepped up in Cairns, with the city in a three-day lockdown after the taxi driver was infectious in the community for 10 days.
Queensland authorities say they have linked the driver and a reef pilot who tested positive for the virus last week.
“We suspect it was when he drove that pilot from his home to the airport and then that pilot then slid down to Brisbane,” Dr Young said.
The Sunshine State had four new local cases of coronavirus on Monday, all linked to the existing Indooroopilly cluster in Brisbane’s west.
Ms Palaszczuk said all of those cases were in quarantine while infectious.
“Fantastic news and the sort of news we want to wake up to,” she said.
Three of the cases are connected to the Ironside school, including a staff member, a parent related to a child at the school and a household contact of another child.
The fourth case is a household contact of someone who attends Brisbane Boys’ Grammar School.
Lockdown rules for local government areas in Queensland’s south-east have lifted, although many virus measures – such as mandatory masks – will remain for a fortnight.