cluster grows to nine, existing mask restrictions expanded
NSW Health has also been notified of two new locally acquired cases overnight.
These cases will be included in tomorrow’s numbers. Sydney’s COVID cluster in total has risen to nine cases.
One of today’s new community cases was announced yesterday as a man in his 30s who lives in the Sydney CBD but had attended Westfield Bondi Junction, who has also spent time in the Wollongong area.
The second case is a household contact of this man, a woman in her 30s who had also visited the Westfield in Bondi Junction.
The two other new cases which will be recorded in tomorrow’s figures are two people from the Sutherland Shire, both close contacts of previously confirmed cases.
However, Dr Chant warned that they may not have been isolating for all of their infectious period and further exposure sites in relation to these cases will likely be announced.
One is a woman in her 50s who is a family contact of a previous case and the other is a man also in his 50s who had been in isolation after visiting an exposure site.
Health authorities believe the man was likely infected during a short exposure at a Salvation Army shop but investigations are still continuing as to exactly how he was exposed.
NSW’s mask restrictions broadened
The new cases have prompted the premier to extend the compulsory wearing of masks when catching public transport, with the law now applying to everyone in the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas.
Several of the recent new cases have been detected in those areas.
“Even though they are directly linked to the eastern suburbs cases, we are concerned there may have been spread in the community,” Ms Berejiklian.
It comes after masks were made compulsory for all of Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, on Friday.
“It is important for all of us to be on high alert, no matter where we live,” Ms Berejiklian said.
In addition, seven councils at the centre of the outbreak in Sydney will be required to wear masks at all indoor public settings.
This includes hospitality workers, retail shopping and any other indoor activity that doesn’t involve eating and drinking.
“At this stage, we didn’t want to make the decision to have compulsory mask wearing across all Greater Sydney but if the situation changes overnight, that is an option we will have to consider,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The premier has urged more NSW residents to remain vigilant in following restrictions and in coming forward for testing.
“I know all of us are a bit fatigued after so many months of living with COVID but we can’t drop now,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We have to make sure we aren’t complacent and make sure we are complying to what we are asking you to do. Please, we don’t want to extend further restrictions unless we must.”
Residents are being asked to follow the new restrictions immediately, but they will be legally enforced from 4pm.
The mask rules are scheduled to be lifted on Thursday.
The compulsory use of masks indoors won’t apply within school, Dr Kerry Chant has confirmed.
“If any parents would like to have their child wear a mask, it has been the usual practice that that has not been opposed and supported,” she said.
Seven Sydney local government areas where masks are now required indoors:
- Botany Bay
- Inner West
- City of Sydney
All nine cases can be tracked back to limousine driver
Dr Chant said that currently it appeared all nine of the recent community COVID-19 cases could be traced back to the infected limousine driver with the Delta variant, but health authorities were keeping “an open mind” as investigations continued.
“As you know, there has been in the Victorian situation, they were actually dealing with two separate outbreaks – one of the Kappa strain and one with the Delta strain,” she noted.
“(During) the Avalon cluster we had two outbreaks concurrently and it’s important we keep an open mind with investigations and we will update you, because that would be of significance if they were not linked.”
More testing of those who visited Westfield Bondi Junction needed
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant is calling on everyone who visited the Westfield in Bondi Junction last weekend to come forward for testing, even if they only used the car park.
“We want to redouble our efforts to get testing of anyone he was in Westfield Bondi Junction including the car park on June 12 and June 13,” Dr Chant said.
She noted that health authorities had been unable to find direct contact between recent cases who had contracted COVID-19 while at the shopping centre and infected individuals.
“That means the acquisition is probably occurring as people are moving about the Westfield Bondi Junction,” she said.
“That gives us cause for concern because it means we may not have identified people if people are looking at particular venues and therefore we want those high rates of testing.”
To encourage more individuals to come forward, Dr Chant said the mandate to isolate after testing until receiving a negative result will not apply to people who went to the shopping centre but didn’t visit specific venues of concern, unless they develop symptoms.
Dr Chant said she would like daily testing numbers to rise to between 30,000 and 40,000 people.
Fragments of COVID-19 found in Sydney wastewater
There have also been more fragments of coronavirus detected in sewage systems in and around Sydney, including one in the Brooklyn area north of Hornsby where no positive COVID-19 cases are known to reside.
The sewage plant services around 1000 people and covers the suburbs of Dangar Island, Cowan, Brooklyn, Mooney Mooney and Cheerio Point.
Dr Chant said no one from that region has been recently discharged from hotel quarantine, as she urged more locals to come forward for testing.
The other positive sewage detections are at the Camellia North and Camellia South pumping stations in western Sydney, where the virus was also detected on June 18.
The catchments take in a population of around 109,600 people are cover the following suburbs: Camellia, Harris Park, Granville, South Granville, Mays Hill, Merrylands, Merrylands West, North Parramatta, Parramatta, South Wentworthville, Westmead, Guildford West, Sydney Olympic Park, Newington, Holroyd, Clyde, Auburn, Old Guildford, Guildford, Silverwater, Rosehill and Rydalmere.
‘No doubt’ fears over vaccines are hampering NSW rollout: Premier
The premier said there is “no doubt” heightened concerns around side-effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine were hampering New South Wales’ vaccine rollout.
The federal government issued new advice for the jab on Thursday recommending limiting its use to those over the age of 60, following advice from their vaccine advisory board ATAGI.
It comes after 12 new cases of blood clots likely linked to the vaccine were detected in the week prior, seven of them in people aged in their 50s.
Nevertheless, Ms Berejiklian urged anyone in that age group who had already had their first dose of AstraZeneca to get their second shot.
She also stressed that New South Wales’ administration of the Pfizer vaccine was limited by supply from the federal government, not an inability to deliver the vaccine en masse.
The mass vaccination site at Homebush and hospitals are equipped to deliver the Pfizer dose and NSW was ready to expand the number of distribution sites, but “for us, the issue is supply”.