New South Wales has recorded another 452 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and one death, with authorities remaining very concerned about the spread of the virus through Aboriginal communities in the state’s west.
Of the new cases announced recorded to 8pm Monday, 129 are linked to a known case or cluster, 105 are household contacts of a known case and 24 are close contacts. The source of infection for 323 cases remains under investigation.
Thirty cases were infectious in the community, NSW Health said, with the isolation status of 297 still under investigation.
Seventy-five per cent of the new cases were people under 40.
The new death was of an unvaccinated female in her late 70s, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Of the latest cases, 18 were in western NSW, bringing the total number of cases in the area to 116.
NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said that was “very concerning”.
“The majority of those [116 cases] have been in people who are Aboriginal,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“We’re working closely with the Aboriginal community to keep them safe, to make sure that people are getting tested and making sure that people who have been in contact with other cases are aware that they need to isolate.”
“Special accommodation” is being set up for people to make sure they’re kept safe, he added.
One extra case was found in Broken Hill after the 8pm cutoff time, who NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said had been infectious for “some days” in Broken Hill and Wilcannia.
Mr Barilaro urged people living in the region to get tested if they have symptoms and to book a vaccination appointment.
“We’ve got to get ahead of the curve,” he said.
Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have also been found in sewage at Lennox Head, in the NSW north coast, where there are currently no known cases of the virus.
Everyone in this area is urged to monitor for the onset of symptoms, and if they appear, to immediately be tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
Hospital staff shortages
Meanwhile, Sydney hospitals are dealing with staff shortages as COVID clusters send workers into isolation at Nepean and St George Hospitals.
A South Eastern Sydney Local Health District spokesperson said four inpatients and two staff had tested positive for COVID-19 in the oncology ward at St George Hospital.
“All 21 patients on the oncology ward have been tested and been in isolation since the first patient tested positive. The ward is currently closed to new admissions,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The two staff members who tested positive are both fully vaccinated, while three patients have had one dose of the vaccine and one patient has not been vaccinated.
Four COVID-positive inmates are also being housed at the remand centre of Silverwater Jail, including two cases uncovered over the weekend. Their source of infection is being investigated.
NSW posted a record 478 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and eight deaths on Monday.
A three-week police blitz came into effect on Monday to enforce new regulations with almost 18,000 police officers supported by 800 members of the Australian Defence Force.
NSW police issued nearly 600 infringement notices to people flouting tough new health orders on the first day of the crackdown as the state continues to report escalating coronavirus numbers.
Police also conducted 3,800 welfare checks to see if people were following stay-at-home orders.