Mystery over Sydney Covid case after 55-day streak ends

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

NSW has recorded no additional locally acquired coronavirus cases after the state confirmed its first community case in nearly two months.

On Sunday, health authorities revealed its 55-day streak without a local case had come to an end after a hotel quarantine security guard had tested positive to the virus.

The 47-year-old man worked at both the Sofitel Wentworth and Mantra at Haymarket hotels in inner Sydney and had already received his first Pfizer jab.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed genomic testing linked the security guard with a positive case from floor 11 of the Sofitel hotel.

The strain found in the worker and guest is the highly-infectious UK strain, NSW Health said in a press release.

However Dr Chant told reporters investigations had not yet determined how he acquired the virus.

"We haven't been able to find an exact source, an explanation for how this person became infected," she said.

Gladys Berejiklian will be hoping the virus has not seeded in the community following the apparent leak. Source: Getty
Gladys Berejiklian will be hoping the virus has not seeded in the community following the apparent leak. Source: Getty

"There is not a clear and obvious breach that explains it.

"So we are testing everyone who works, co-workers who worked with this gentleman to just check there is not someone else who may have been an intermediary who transmitted to this gentleman and we are also going to be re-swabbing everyone on floor 11 today."

She said CCTV analysis had revealed he behaved "exemplary" and did not come within 1.5 meters of the infected traveller's door. Dr Chant also confirmed the infected hotel guest did not leave their room or open their door during the security guard's shift.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that while the case was "concerning", she said outbreaks are to be expected.

There were 8,199 tests processed in the previous 24 hours.

Security guard had second job

The man’s household contacts have all tested negative, and will continue to self-isolate for 14 days.

Dr Chant revealed the man had also been working in an apartment complex in Hurstville on top of his hotel quarantine role.

She said he did not have any close or casual contacts with residents at the site.

"We are chasing up the gentleman's coworkers and any contractors that might have come onto the building site, the building complex to undertake building works," Dr Chant said.

Ms Berejiklian defended the rights of workers to have second jobs while being a part of the quarantine system.

“I would never want to stop a security guard from attending their child’s school, or attending an event. They have a life, whether it’s paid or unpaid ... We can't keep them sectioned away," she said.

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