All of Sydney’s five million residents could be tested for coronavirus up to THREE TIMES in an attempt to stop a widespread outbreak of the bug
- All Sydneysiders tested up to three times for the coronavirus under a new plan
- Prime minister called for more testing before COVID-19 measures can be eased
- Coronavirus testing would be expanded beyond hotspots for disease in NSW
- Leading pathology provider said everyone in city ‘will be tested and re-tested’
- State reported six new confirmed cases on Tuesday, as its death toll rose to 31
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
All of Sydney’s five million residents could be tested for the coronavirus up to three times under a testing blitz set to be revealed in New South Wales.
The state’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant is meeting pathology providers on Wednesday with the aim of expanding testing to include even those with mild symptoms.
Under the plan, testing would be expanded beyond hot spots for the disease in NSW, such as Bondi in the city’s eastern suburbs and Macquarie Park in the north-west.
Pictured: A drive-through coronavirus testing clinic in Bondi in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on April 7. All Sydney residents could be tested for the coronavirus under plans to expand testing beyond hotspots for the disease
‘If we have enough testing kits and swabs and collection points, we will be announcing testing is open to anyone with symptoms who wants a COVID test,’ Dr Chant told the Sydney Morning Herald.
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week called for wider testing to be implemented before social distancing restrictions can be relaxed.
The director of SydPath – the pathology provider at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital – Greg Granger said his service was preparing for another spike in cases.
‘There is an inevitability with any virus, particularly a novel virus – it can get away from us at any time,’ he said.
‘Everyone in Sydney will eventually be tested and re-tested and probably re-tested again.
‘We don’t want to see what happened in Tasmania happen to us.’
Pictured: Cars lining up in Bondi on April 7 for a drive-through testing clinic. New South Wales’ chief medical officer is looking to expand testing to include even those with mild symptoms
Hospital staff carry out a test at a COVID-19 clinic in Adelaide on March 31. A leading pathology provider said everyone in Sydney will need to be ‘tested and re-tested and probably re-tested again’
Officials were forced to close Burnie’s North West Regional Hospital in the state’s north-west after a cluster of coronavirus cases emerged at the hospital and forced 1,200 healthcare workers into self-isolation.
Mr Granger said testing capacity had expanded significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia – when it took as long as seven days for a COVID-19 test result to be confirmed.
NSW reported six new cases on Tuesday taking its total to 2,969, with 21 people in intensive care, after conducting more than 171,000 tests.
The death toll in the state also rose to 31.
Operator Anglicare Sydney said a 92-year-old woman died late on Tuesday morning at its Newmarch House aged care home in Caddens in Sydney’s far west.
In a statement, the organisation said the woman had tested positive for COVID-19 and also had multiple health issues, although the cause of death is yet to be formally determined.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,645
New South Wales: 2,969
Western Australia: 546
South Australia: 437
Australian Capital Territory: 104
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,645
Newmarch House is home to about 100 people with 28 residents and 14 staff infected with the coronavirus. Strict isolation protocols are in place.
A worker with symptoms entered Newmarch House on six consecutive days, leading NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant to warn even those with mild symptoms should avoid work and get tested.
The elderly woman is the third person from the facility to die after testing positive to the virus following the deaths of two men aged 93 and 94.
Meanwhile, a healthcare worker at St George Hospital, in Sydney’s south, has tested positive to the virus, South Eastern Sydney local health district confirms.
‘There is no ongoing risk to patients or staff and there has been no impact on hospital services,’ a spokeswoman for the health district said in a statement.
The healthcare worker presented to a COVID-19 clinic for testing at the first sign of symptoms and all close contacts have been identified and isolated, she said.