NSW has another mystery coronavirus infection after a man in his 40s was confirmed with the virus after seeking treatment at a Sydney hospital emergency department on Saturday night.
The Mount Druitt hospital emergency department was closed for cleaning late on Sunday after the man’s infection was confirmed.
It reopened late on Monday morning.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said one of the man’s close household contacts had also since tested positive for the virus.
“They weren’t known to have COVID-19 when they presented to the emergency department,” she said.
“Obviously they had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and were tested.”
Both positive results were returned after 8pm on Sunday, so will officially be included in Tuesday’s figures.
The source of both infections is yet to be confirmed, with authorities racing to try to link the two new cases to an existing outbreak.
“We are doing all we can to do rapid genome testing to understand where this virus sits in terms of its lineage and whether that gives us some clues of transmission,” Dr Chant said.
Elsewhere, NSW confirmed three more community COVID infections on Monday, all linked to the Berala cluster. It also had eight more cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
NSW authorities continue to push for higher testing numbers. Monday’s figures came from just over 18,000 tests across NSW in the previous 24 hours.
“It is essential at this time that we strive for consistently over 25,000 tests and I would like to see more approaching 30,000 test as we push
to get no community transmission,” Dr Chant said.
NSW health authorities say the next 14 days is critical for the state as it “mops up” from two coronavirus outbreaks in greater Sydney.
Thousands of residents from the northern part of Sydney’s northern beaches celebrated “freedom day” on Sunday after being stuck in lockdown since before Christmas.
On Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was “doing relatively well”.
‘But we are in the phase of mopping up, we are in the phase of really trying to identify any community transmission that hasn’t been previously detected to make sure that any change – chains which exist in the community which we hadn’t picked up before have been and are being picked up,” she said.
She said the original Mount Druitt case was still to be linked to any other clusters but “our contact-tracers do a great job of finding those cross-over points of contact”.
NSW Health has added several new venues to its public alerts. They include:
- Thai Hung supermarket, 307-309 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, December 31, 3.45-4.45pm;
- Bankstown Central Shopping Centre, especially the Target, Myer, Smiggle, Big W, Best & Less and Oporto, January 6, 11.30am-2pm;
- Bankstown Central Shopping Centre, especially Big W, Smiggle, Oporto, January 8, 1-2.30pm;
- Bankstown Service NSW, 350-351 North Terrace, Bankstown, January 8, 11.45am-1pm;
- See a full list of NSW venues of concern here.
Brisbane lockdown to end
Earlier, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the snap three-day coronavirus lockdown of Greater Brisbane would end as planned at 6pm on Monday (local time).
Ms Palaszczuk thanked millions of local residents for their response to the snap lockdown.
“It has been absolutely truly remarkable,” she said.
“I can announce that the reward for their sacrifice is that we are able to end our lockdown after three days.”
The city-wide lockdown was imposed last week after it was confirmed a Brisbane hotel quarantine cleaner had tested positive for the virulent British variant of the virus.
Queensland had no community-acquired COVID infections on Monday – its third day in a row without new local cases. Ms Palaszczuk said she was “absolutely relieved” at the clean slate.
“This is the best news we could have hoped for. Absolutely the best news,” she said.
There were four more infections in hotel quarantine, including two in Emirates flight crew members.
Ms Palaszczuk said while the lockdown of the Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas would end as planned residents would have to follow tighter virus measures until at least January 22.
They include wearing masks in public indoor spaces, including shopping centres, hospitals, public transport and places of worship. Businesses will also be restricted to one person per four square metres.
“It is for 10 days only and then hopefully – if we get zero community transmission over those 10 days – then we can just go back to the rest of Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
She also confirmed the fourth cricket Test against India would go ahead at the Gabba, with the ground restricted to half its maximum capacity. Those who attend will have to wear masks while entering and leaving the ground, but not while in outdoor seating.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young said nearly 700 contacts or close contacts of the cleaner had been tested for the virus. Of those, more than 300 negative test results had come back.
“I don’t think that everyone has come forward yet,” she said.
She also added three new “critical” venues to Queensland’s public health alerts:
- Woolworths, Calamvale North, 11am-midday, January 3
- Coles Sunnybank Hills, 7.30-8am, January 5
- Nextra Sunnybank Hills newsagent, 8-8.15am, January 5
Anyone who has been to one of those outlets should get tested for the virus.
“It is really important that any one who has attended one of those three particular venues … to come forward as soon as possible,” Dr Young said.