NSW Health investigating new case links

Maureen Dettre
·2-min read

NSW Health is investigating the source of a new mystery COVID-19 case in an asymptomatic returned traveller from South America, including the possibility that transmission occurred in a Sydney quarantine hotel.

The case involves a returned overseas traveller who tested positive to COVID-19 two days after being released from 14 days of hotel quarantine at the Sofitel Wentworth last week.

"Comprehensive testing is underway to assist NSW Health understand the timing and nature of the case's infection, including whether their infection is a known variant of concern," NSW Health said in a statement on Monday.

Several returned overseas travellers in the same quarantine hotel returned positive COVID-19 results while the newly infected person was also in quarantine.

"NSW Health is investigating any potential links between these cases and today's case," NSW Health said.

"All returned travellers who stayed on the same floor in the Sofitel Wentworth during this time are being contacted by NSW Health contact tracers and requested to be tested if they have not already been tested as part of the day-16 testing program," it said.

All staff working in NSW quarantine hotels undertake a daily rapid saliva test as part of COVID-19 surveillance testing.

The infected person, who's from the Wollongong area, arrived from South America on January 19 and began hotel quarantine.

They returned two negative tests during their quarantine period with the tests taken on January 21 and January 31, before the person finished their hotel quarantine period last Tuesday.

NSW Health tracers contacted the person on Thursday as part of the enhanced day-16 follow-up, introduced last week.

The person did not have any symptoms but was tested the next day, with the surprise positive result being confirmed on Saturday.

The person was re-tested, with those results re-confirming a positive detection on Sunday.

Ten close contacts of the case were also identified and directed to self-isolate. Seven of those have already returned negative tests.

The person visited a number of venues in the Illawarra and surrounding areas, as well as a cafe in Brighton Le Sands in southeastern Sydney, before they were notified of the positive result from their day-16 test.

A complete list of venues of concern, and the related health advice, is available on the NSW Government website.

Meanwhile, NSW recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday after issuing the alert on Sunday night.

NSW Health said the state had gone 22 consecutive days without a locally acquired case as the source of the latest infection was still under investigation.

NSW Health is continuing to screen passengers arriving on flights from Victoria and any person who enters NSW from Victoria by air or rail is also required to complete a passenger declaration form.