The number of Covid-19 cases among New South Wales healthcare workers has risen to nine, with the state reporting 31 new locally acquired illnesses in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. yesterday.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said the state was still “mopping up” infections from before a lockdown in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour was announced last weekend.
Health officials hoped that the number of new illnesses, which has risen steadily since Monday, would begin to decline shortly as the lockdown’s effects on mobility took effect.
A rising infection among health professionals, however, has already disrupted operations at two Sydney hospitals, Royal North Shore and Fairfield.
An unvaccinated student nurse who tested positive earlier this week infected nine other health and elder care employees, isolating almost 400 close contacts.
Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales, said 12 of the 31 new cases revealed today were active in the community while infectious, a figure she termed as “concerning”
More than 73,000 individuals were swabbed in a record number of tests yesterday.
The previous high was 69,000, recorded during the Avalon cluster in December.
Berejiklian stated that today’s case figures represented a “lag” from the days preceding Greater Sydney’s lockdown.
“We are anticipating there could be an increase in numbers over the next few days, then hopefully early next week we should see the impact of the lockdown really turning and having a positive impact,” she said.
While the uptick had been expected, she was “relieved” case numbers had not been “as bad as what they could have been”.
“In other states and other jurisdictions around the world with this virus, you have seen a doubling or tripling of cases, which is what we were afraid of, but [that] has not materialised,” she said.
There have been 226 locally acquired cases since 16 June, when a limousine driver tested positive after transporting an international flight crew.
Of those, 188 were linked to the Bondi cluster.
The unvaccinated student nurse who tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday was now linked to ten cases. Nine of them work in health or elderly care.
One more case has been linked to a party in West Hoxton, in Sydney’s south-west, bringing the total number of cases related to that location to 42.
Dr. Chant would not comment on whether Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour should be released from lockdown the next weekend.
She stated that as a result of the lockdown, contact tracers were noticing a change in the venues of concern, from hotels to beauticians and hairdressers to retail settings.
“Please don’t go out and about shopping in retail, in any setting if you have got symptoms,” she said.
NSW Health administered a record 21,289 Covid-19 vaccines in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday – more than 7000 from its vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park.
There was one new overseas acquired infection recorded in the latest reporting period.
NSW Health is treating 172 Covid-19 cases, including three people in intensive care.
Lockdown ending in Northern Territory
The Northern Territory chief minister has announced lockdowns in Greater Darwin and Alice Springs will be lifted at 1pm today (local time), with several restrictions remaining in place.
Since Sunday afternoon, more than 140,000 individuals in Darwin, Palmerston, and the surrounding region have been subjected to stay-at-home orders as a result of a coronavirus outbreak at the Granites gold mine in the Tanami Desert.
Michael Gunner said yesterday that the Greater Darwin lockdown might be extended beyond today after it was revealed that a miner, who later tested positive, reportedly disobeyed self-isolation orders by visiting a local shop in Darwin.