Fears of new coronavirus outbreak in NSW, schools closed

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

NSW is facing another outbreak of cases after three people tested positive north of Sydney, forcing the closure of two schools and a childcare centre.

Port Stephens, 55km northeast of Newcastle, is now on high alert with Tomaree Public School and Tomaree High School shut down as well as the Goodstart Anna Bay Childcare Centre, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes revealed.

The three locations will undergo deep cleaning while contact tracing will begin.

A child at Tomaree Public School was associated with the Thai Rock cluster in Wetherill Park in Sydney. A child at the Anna Bay Childcare Centre was connected to the same cluster.

Ms Nelmes said it is understood the three cases are linked to the positive case of a man in his 60s who became infected when visited by someone from Sydney connected to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster.

She described the emergence of the virus in the community as a “rapidly moving situation”.

The man in his 60s visited multiple locations last week in the area including the Windsor Castle Hotel on the evening of July 13 and Woolworths, Aldi and NewsXpress at the Salamander Bay shopping centre on July 15.

Hunter New England Health’s Public Health Physician Professor David Durrheim called on those in Newcastle and the wider area to avoid travelling to Sydney as cases continue to rise.

A health worker stands next to a car and performs a COVID-19 test.
Anyone in Port Stephens with symptoms is urged to get tested. Source: AAP

"We would strongly advise anybody from the Hunter New England region to rather stay at home than visiting Sydney at this stage unless absolutely necessary,” he said.

"This virus, if you give it half a chance, can spread very, very rapidly and even from asymptomatic.”

He urged anyone with any type of symptoms to come forward and get tested.

NSW Health authorities are urging anyone who visited Woolworths at Salamander Bay Village on July 17 between 2.30pm to closing time, July 18 between 4pm and closing time, July 19 between 12.45pm to closing time, and July 20 between 3pm and closing time to watch for symptoms and get tested if any respiratory symptoms or fever appear.

The supermarket has been cleaned overnight with extra attention to touch points.

Anyone who attended the Fingal Bay Café and Takeaway on July 17 between 11.30am and midday has also been asked to get tested.

On Wednesday, there were a further 15 locally acquired cases announced in NSW, 11 of which were linked to the Thai Rock cluster in Wetherill Park in Sydney’s west, and three more for the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula in Sydney’s southwest.

The clusters now stand at 37 and 53 cases respectively.

The Guzman y Gomez in Hoxton Park has been added to a growing list of venues in and around Sydney’s southwest linked to outbreaks.

Anyone who visited the store between 7.30pm to 9pm on July 12 is urged to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

Sydney Local Health have also announced the staff and residents of Ashfield Baptist Homes will be tested for COVID-19 after a staff member was found to have the virus.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian implored residents to avoid crowds and limit non-essential travel over the weekend and next few weeks.

"The next few weeks are the most critical in NSW since the lockdown earlier in March and April," she told reporters on Wednesday.

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