Australia

NSW records 112 new local coronavirus cases with at least 46 people infectious in the community

New South Wales has recorded 112 new local COVID-19 cases with at least 46 in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

The state also recorded four overseas acquired cases from more than 46,000 tests on Monday, as the government announced it was making changes to the vaccination rollout.

There are 63 COVID-19 patients currently in hospital, with 18 in intensive care and four on ventilators.

Of those admitted to hospital, 25 are under the age of 55 and 14 are under the age of 35. Of the people in ICU, one is in their 20s, one in their 30s, one in their 40s, five in their 50s, six in their 60s, 3 in their 70s and one in their 80s.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “the vast majority” of new cases were family members or “very, very close contacts” of known cases.

“I want to stress again, as we did yesterday, if you put yourself at risk, you’re putting your entire family, and that means extended family, as well as your closest friends and associates, at risk,” she told reporters on Monday.

The premier said the number of people infectious in the community needed to be “as close to zero as possible” before the lockdown, which has now entered its third week, can end.

“We won’t know the answer as to how long the lockdown will take at this stage because we need to know, we need to collect the data as to how we can get that number down,” she said.

The outbreak remains concentrated in the local government areas of Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown and Liverpool.

She advised essential workers in those suburbs to stay at home unless they could present a negative COVID-19 test.

She also ordered people not to present at medical centres or pharmacies if they had COVID-19 symptoms and instead get a test and isolate until they receive results. 

“Too many essential workers doing essential work for us all are leaving work with symptoms or spreading the virus in their workplace. That needs to stop. Do not leave your home if you have symptoms and do not go to workplaces, especially if you come from those local government areas,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Vaccine rollout expansion

The NSW government on Monday announced teachers and aged care workers in the Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown and Liverpool areas would be prioritised for vaccination as the state makes changes to the vaccine rollout.

A vaccine hub will open at Fairfield Showground on Friday to target the two groups.

In addition, people over 40 will soon be able to access AstraZeneca jabs in vaccination clinics and some pharmacies across NSW without needing to consult their GP.

More vaccination hubs will open to complement the changes over coming weeks in Macquarie Fields in southwest Sydney, in Belmont at Lake Macquarie and in Wollongong.

Those who have had their first AstraZeneca jab are now urged to get their second dose within six to eight weeks.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the vaccine expansion was due to a dramatic change in the risk for the community.

“The current risk situation has changed dramatically… Because we actually have COVID and the Delta strain circulating, it then means that your individual risk of acquiring the strain is very much different than it would have been a month or so ago when your community risk would have been very low,” she said.

Dr Chant singled out young people on Monday, saying authorities were seeing a rise in cases among 18 to 20 year olds.

“It is crucial that young adults limit their social interactions at this time and also come forward for testing,” she said.

NSW Health late on Sunday advised of multiple new exposure sites in Fairfield and Fairfield Heights, including a number of medical centres and pharmacies. A Kogarah fish shop is also in the spotlight. People who have visited any of the sites are being told to get tested and self-isolate. 

Dr Chant said eight COVID-19 cases had been identified across five households in an apartment block of 29 units, with those tested positive to move to a special accommodation, with others in the complex to remain in isolation for 14 days.

NSW Police on Saturday issued 105 infringement notices due to public health order non-compliance, bringing the total to 376 since Friday.

Monday’s numbers follow 77 new local cases reported on Sunday and one death, a woman in her 90s from Sydney’s southwest who was a close contact of a locally-acquired case.

The woman died hours after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and was believed to have been unvaccinated.

Her death is the first since the Bondi cluster emerged on 16 June, and the first connected to COVID-19 in NSW since a man died in December.

The premier said on Monday an announcement on financial support packages for NSW businesses was “imminent”.



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