News State NSW News Hunt for the missing link as NSW reports seven new COVID cases

Hunt for the missing link as NSW reports seven new COVID cases

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has thanked Sydneysiders for their patience as more COVID cases emerge. Photo: ABC
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NSW has recorded seven new local cases of COVID-19 — all linked to the northern beaches outbreak.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people to continue to come forward for testing after numbers dropped to 24,000 in the latest reporting period.

The previous period saw 39,133 tests during a week of record-testing levels.

NSW has now reached more than 4 million tests since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Ms Berejiklian said six cases had been confirmed as part of the Avalon cluster, five of whom were already in isolation.

The seventh case is under investigation but is a firefighter who attended the Belrose Hotel, which has already been flagged as a venue under alert.

A unknown COVID carrier visited the Belrose Hotel on December 15. Photo: Belrose Hotel

The Avalon cluster now numbers 122 cases.

She said a number of the cases had been diagnosed late in their isolation, at around day 10 or 11.

“Those positive results came up towards the end of their isolation period which demonstrates how important it is for that full 14 days to be respected,” she said.

The latest cases come as the northern beaches returns to pre-Christmas restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

Ms Berejiklian thanked northern beaches residents for their patience, with the latest orders to run until at least midnight on December 30.

“I appreciate frustration levels are increasing as we get closer to New Year’s Eve and days we stay at home increase,” she said.

“We hope to have some clear information for everybody tomorrow or, at the latest, the day after on New Year’s Eve and [what] the next weeks will look like, including [for] those communities on the Northern Beaches.”

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the hunt was on for a “missing link” involving cases from the Belrose Hotel, a suburb to the south-west of the main northern beaches region.

Critical period

Dr Chant also said another case had been linked to the Rose of Australia hotel in Erskineville in inner-Sydney.

The case will be reported in tomorrow’s figures as it was confirmed after the 8:00pm deadline yesterday.

“Again I’m using this as an illustration why the 14 days is so critical,” she said.

“We are seeing people come forward who develop symptoms … 10 days or so after the exposure, right up to that 14 days. So please stay in the isolation for that 14 days.”

An infected person was at the venue on December 15 between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.

Dr Chant also said testing continued around the December 21 flight from Sydney to Griffith, on which an infected passenger travelled.

Of the 28 passengers and one flight attendant, 19 results were negative and the rest are pending