NSW Health is urging people from a list of eight areas to present themselves for coronavirus testing if they’re showing symptoms.
The state’s chief medical officer, Dr Kerry Chant, told reporters on Tuesday there have been 49 new cases of the virus in NSW. That’s down from 57 the day before.
Dr Chant said there had been about 2100 tests conducted in the past 24 hours but is now imploring residents in certain areas to get tested.
“We take this opportunity to encourage people to come forward for testing if they've got symptoms in the areas Waverley, Woollahra, Dee Why, Lake Macquarie, Manning Point, Nowra, Byron Bay and Port Macquarie,” Dr Chant said.
“In those areas, we have seen a case, or cases, of local transmission where we haven't been able to find the source.
“It is important at this time as we try and suppress the numbers of COVID-19 in the community that we basically elevate and raise testing levels in the vicinity of those areas, geographical areas, and we assure ourselves that we're not missing more broad-based transmission in those communities.”
The eight areas in NSW concerning officials
Calls for ‘high levels of vigilance’
Dr Chant added authorities “don't have any indication of broad-based outbreaks” in the areas she mentioned but she wanted to stress “high levels of vigilance” are needed.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the number of new cases in the state continues to "stabilise and even decline".
According to the Department of Health, symptoms include coughing, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath and sore throat.
The one thing to remember
NSW Health also recently released a list of 13 virus hotspots, which included Port Macquarie, Waverley and Dee Why.
People infected with coronavirus who initially don’t show symptoms, those who never developed symptoms or others who brushed off theirs as something else may be responsible for the concern for the aforementioned areas, Professor Dr Catherine Bennett, Inaugural Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, told Yahoo News Australia.
It has been reported that a large portion of people who catch the virus have mild symptoms, while others suffer none at all but are still contagious.
A recent study has shown people who have the virus can spread it to numerous others during a crucial one-to-three day period before they start showing symptoms.
“One thing we must remember is that we are seeing cases once they are reported and not when they first become cases, and for community unlinked cases there is likely to be an even longer lag time from exposure to illness to eventually getting tested than there was for travellers who were actively screened,” Dr Bennett said.
“Then there is another 3-4 days or so to get the results.”
Chief medical officer’s number one concern
"Those are the reasons we have brought in the social distancing measures and all of those measures to stop the spread,” he said.
For about 10 per cent of these cases Australia-wide, the transmission of the virus is unknown, as there is no known contact with another case.
While NSW and Victoria both have strict rules about leaving the house to stop community transmission, Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert from the Australian National University, told the ABC on Monday what they are doing is more than is required.
Professor Collignon said evidence has shown “minimal” community transmission and social distancing measures are working.
“Not letting people go outside and sit on a park bench, for instance, how will that stop transmission?” he told the ABC.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said last week his state will visit level four restrictions.
Mr Andrews didn’t specify exactly what they were though.
Australians in hotels to be released from quarantine
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the first Australians quarantined in Sydney hotels would be able to leave on Wednesday, including residents of other states who would be transported to the airport.
"They'll be getting a letter from me confirming their period of isolation and I certainly hope when they land back in their states and territories that they are allowed to go home," Mr Fuller told reporters on Tuesday.
"After that we'll be planning for the coming Sunday, Monday, Tuesday where some 3000 Australian residents will come out of hotel isolation."
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