Sydney's first Covid case in weeks had vaccine before diagnosis

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A man who tested positive to Covid-19 in NSW’s first case of community-transmitted coronavirus in almost two months received a vaccine a week before returning a positive test.

NSW recorded its first case of Covid-19 in 55 days on Sunday after a 47-year-old Sydney man working at two quarantine hotels tested positive late on Saturday.

The man, a security guard, worked at the Sofitel in Wentworth and the Mantra Hotel in Haymarket. He also worked in an office.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Sunday the man received an initial dose of Pfizer vaccine on March 2. He has yet to receive his second shot.

“We wouldn't have expected his immune system to kick in for 12-14 days or potentially longer, and then the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine gives further enhancement to that immune response,” Dr Chant said.

NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard (left) and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant provide a Covid-19 update in Sydney.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant speaks as Health Minister Brad Hazzard watches on. Source: AAP

More than 100 people contacted over transmission fears

Health authorities are now scrambling to contact more than 100 people the man was working with between Friday night and Saturday morning while he was infectious.

“We have contacted around 130 people who worked from 7pm on Friday night to 7am on Saturday, overlapping that March 12 to March 13,” Dr Chant said.

“We are asking those individuals to immediately self-isolate and get a test, and basically, that allows us time to work through and ascertain the nature of interaction that this security guard would have had to those quarantine workers.”

An elderly man gets vaccinated.
The security guard had received a Pfizer vaccination. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

Dr Chant added through tracing health authorities believe the man may have contracted the virus from the Sofitel between March 6 at 7pm and March 7 at 7am.

She said people working at the hotel during this period have also been contacted.

How long the man has been infectious for is “hard to pinpoint”, Dr Chant said, because he had no symptoms of coronavirus. The man also tested negative on March 5 and 6.

Dr Chant stressed the man “did the right thing”.

A general view of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth in Sydney.
The man was working at the Sofitel in Wentworth (pictured) and a second hotel in Haymarket. Source: AAP

Exposure sites listed

A number of possible exposure sites have been identified by NSW Health. Dr Chant identified them as low-risk.

  • Bexley Aquatics Centre on Saturday, from 9am-9.30am

  • Pancakes On The Rocks at Beverly Hills on Saturday, at 10.45am-12pm

  • A train from Hurstville to the city arriving at 6.30pm on Friday, March 12 and the city to Hurstville leaving at 7am

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was asked whether the positive case could affect the easing of Covid restrictions on March 17.

“It is far too early to say. As you have probably heard, Dr Chant (and) I literally got the email at 1.36am this morning, and our health teams were all working through the night,” he said.

“They have been working this morning as you would expect, and just doing a really good public health at any logical response, working through what we need to do.”

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