A young woman who caught Covid while visiting Sydney’s top hairdresser has revealed the horrific symptoms she still endures as the city braces for a lockdown extension with health authorities grappling to stem the Indian Delta strain outbreak.
Claudia Waitsman, 25, picked up the virus last month during a trip to Joh Bailey salon, in Double Bay, which was one of the major transmission hotspots soon after the city’s outbreak began on June 16.
There are now 745 active cases of Covid in New South Wales after the state recorded 89 new infections on Tuesday, with 65 people in hospital – including 25 under the age of 55.
Of the new cases, 30 were in the community while infectious, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to warn stay-at-home orders are unlikely to be lifted on Friday as planned, with more high figures expected in coming days.
Four days after her appointment, the 25-year-old learnt the hairdresser was a venue of concern and immediately went into self-isolation in her bedroom at home (pictured, the salon being cleaned on June 24)
As the virus continues to run rampant, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant reiterated a stern message to young people that coronavirus does not only pose a risk to older groups or those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Ms Waitsman is a prime example of how the virus does not discriminate against age after she suffered some of the worst symptoms – with one still lingering, despite having been officially cleared of the illness.
She was one of nine clients who contracted the virus while visiting the ritzy eastern suburbs salon after a hairdresser worked for several days while unknowingly infectious.
Four days after her appointment, she learnt the hairdresser was a venue of concern and immediately went into self-isolation in her bedroom at home.
‘I couldn’t believe it was me. I was very shocked,’ she told 9News.
Ms Waitsman said the symptoms crept up slowly, starting off mild before leaving her in agony unable to breath and bedridden for a month.
Claudia Waitsman, 25, (pictured) was one of nine Sydneysiders who caught the virus from the famous Joh Bailey hair salon in Double Bay
Joh Bailey hair salon (pictured), in Double Bay, was one of the major transmission hotspots shortly after Sydney’s Covid outbreak began on June 16
‘Wednesday night I had a headache but there were no symptoms other than that. On the Saturday, I woke up with body aches and I went and got tested. That’s when it came back positive,’ she said.
‘I was in bed, out of breathe, I lost my taste. I’ve still lost my taste – I can’t taste anything.’
Although the family house was soon split up into quarantine zones, her father Alain, a successful real estate agent, somehow contracted the virus – while her mother was unscathed.
Despite the family taking precautions, Mr Waitsman said the virus is ‘extremely catchy’ and ‘travels under doors’ and ‘between cracks’.
‘This virus travels under doors, between cracks, it seems to go everywhere,’ he said.
On top of the nine cases, a further five infections were linked to Joh Bailey’s (pictured) salon, which boasts celebrities clients including the likes of Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue, and Elle Macpherson
Ms Waitsman passed the virus onto her partially-vaccinated father Alain (pictured together), who fortunately did not experiencing any symptoms thanks to his jab
He returned four negative tests before returning a positive result and remained asymptomatic throughout the ordeal.
Doctors told him he did not fall ill because he had previously received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Ms Waitsman said she knows several other people aged in their 20s who have contracted the virus, with some extremely sick while others were not impacted at all.
On top of the nine cases, a further five infections were linked to Joh Bailey’s salon, which boasts celebrities clients including the likes of Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue, and Elle Macpherson.
More than 900 potential close contacts were identified as part of the hair salon cluster, sparked when a male employee worked while unknowingly infectious on June 15 and 16.
Despite a dip in cases on Tuesday to 89, down from 112 on Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned against gaining confidence from the lower numbers, which she expects to spike again as the week goes on.
New South Wales recorded 89 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) warning the figures are expected to jump around over coming days
Police officers wearing face masks patrol in front of the Harbour Bridge on Tuesday (pictured) as authorities step up efforts to curb the fast-growing coronavirus outbreak
Of the 63 people in hospital, there are 18 in ICU and four on ventilators, with just under a third of the patients aged under 55.
Dr Chant said the number of young Australians being admitted to hospital proved the illness poses a risk to all age groups.
‘That (number) is dispelling the notion that you are not going to get sick from COVID if you’re young,’ she said.
‘You don’t need to have an underlying health condition to be in hospital with COVID.
‘Covid is a serious disease and is associated with hospitalisation and death.’
The high number of cases out in the community before diagnosis is causing authorities to consider extending the three-week lockdown already in place for Greater Sydney and surrounding regions.
Ms Berejiklian said the lockdown, which is due to end at 6pm on Friday, is unlikely to be lifted until the number of Covid cases that are in the community while infectious drastically drops.
She said a decision would be announced on Thursday as to whether stay-at-home orders will remain in place.
Kmart at Bondi Junction (pictured) was listed among 50 new Covid exposure sites across Sydney on Tuesday
Health authorities are considering extending the lockdown as they continue to grapple with an outbreak of the highly-infectious Indian Delta variant (pictured, women in Sydney’s nearly empty CBD on Tuesday)
SYDNEY COVID EXPOSURE SITES ANNOUNCED TUESDAY NIGHT
Anyone who visited the following venues is considered a close contact and should get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of result:
Condell Park: IGA – Monday 12 July, 8.55am-9.10am
Smithfield: G James Glass and Aluminium – Tuesday 6 July, Wednesday 7 July, Thursday 8 July, and Friday 9 July (all 7am -6pm)
Punchbowl: Chubby Buns Burger – Wednesday 7 July, 7pm – 7.10pm
Bankstown: Primary Health Care Medical and Dental Centre (pharmacy only) – Wednesday 7 July, 9.45pm – 10pm
Greenacre: Sydney Wide Building Materials – Friday 9 July, 6.50am – 7.20am
Yagoona: Kaffiene & Co – Saturday 10 July, 1.30pm- 2pm
Lakemba: BHC Medical Centre – Monday 12 July, 8.35am -8.55am
NSW Health also wishes to advise of additional times to previously announced venues. Anyone who attended these venues at the times listed is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result:
Endensor Park: Fred’s One Stop Shop – Friday 9 July, 2pm-3pm
Anyone who travelled on the following bus routes at the times listed is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result:
Fairfield to Fairfield: 804 Bus – From Hamilton Road to Fairfield Central, Thursday 8 July, departed 10.58am – arrived 11.03am
Fairfield to Smithfield: 800 Bus – From Fairfield Station to Polding Street, Thursday 8 July, departed 6.15pm – arrived 6.33pm
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a casual contact who must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received:
Ramsgate: Health Save Pharmacy – Wednesday 7 July, 5pm- 5.40pm
Fairfield East: BP Carrington – Thursday 8 July, 4.45pm – 5pm
Fairfield: Aldi – Friday 9 July, 1.55pm – 2.15pm
Fairfield: Chemist Warehouse – Wednesday 7 July, 2.45pm – 3.40pm
Penrith: Westfield (ground floor food court) – Saturday 10 July, 12.30pm -1.30pm
Penrith: Woolworths – Westfield – Saturday 10 July, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Penrith: Trims Fruit Shop – Westfield – Saturday 10 July, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Emu Plains: Lennox Village – Friday 9 July, 3.40pm – 4.30pm
Emu Plains: McDonalds (Old Bathurst Rd) – Thursday 8 July, 2pm – 2.30pm
Jamisontown: Penrith Pies and Pastries – Friday 9 July, 11.50am – 12.20pm
Greenacre: Coles Express – Thursday 8 July, 6.10am – 6.40am
Guildford: Dan Murphy’s – Wednesday 7 July, 6pm – 6.45pm
Granville: Woolworths – Wednesday 7 July, 6.15pm – 7pm
Bondi Junction: Chemist Warehouse – Monday 5 July, 12.45pm – 1.15pm
Bankstown: Sydney Sand and Cement – Monday 5 July, 7am – 7.15am
Punchbowl: Woolworths – Tuesday 6 July, 9.30am – 9.45am
Smithfield: Sydney Tools – Wednesday 7 July, 12pm – 1.35pm
Belrose: Bunnings – Thursday 8 July, 7pm – 7.45pm, and Sunday 11 July, 1.15pm – 2pm
Belrose: Belrose Hotel Bottle Shop – Thursday 8 July, 7.20pm – 7.45pm and Sunday 11 July, 4.45pm to 5.15pm
Hurstville: Adam’s Kebabs and Pizza-Pide – Friday 9 July, 2pm -2.15pm
St Ives: O’Loughlin’s Medical Pharmacy – Friday 9 July, 6pm-6.30pm
St Ives: Oscars Chargrill – Monday 12 July, 5.20pm – 5.45pm
Fairfield: Aldi – Saturday 10 July, 10am – 10.15am
Wetherill Park: Woolworths – Saturday 10 July, 1pm-2pm
Wetherill Park: Chemistworks – Saturday 10 July, 2.45pm – 3.45pm
Yagoona: Mina Bakery – Saturday 10 July, 1.30pm-2pm
Frenchs Forest: Gyronimo’s – Sunday 11 July, 1.30 – 2.15pm
Frenchs Forest: Woolworths – Sunday 11 July, 1.30pm – 2.15pm
Blacktown: Subway (Westpoint) – Monday 12 July, 12.20pm to 12.35pm
Blacktown: Cotton On (Westpoint) – Monday 12 July, 1pm – 1.10pm
Blacktown: Espresso Warriors (Westpoint) – Monday 12 July, 1.10pm – 1.15pm
Blacktown: Cotton On Body (Westpoint) – Monday 12 July, 1.10pm – 1.20pm
Blacktown: Factorie (Westpoint) – Monday 12 July, 1.20pm – 1.30pm
NSW Health also wishes to advise of additional times to previously announced venues. Anyone who attended these venues at the times listed is a casual contact who must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received:
Pyrmont: Coles (Union St) – Monday 5 July, 1pm- 1.20pm and 6pm-6.15pm
Anyone who travelled on the following train routes at the times listed is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received:
T8 Line: From Green Square Station to Lidcombe Station – Sunday 4 July, departed 12.38pm, arrived 1.21pm
T4 Line: From Hurstville Station to Miranda Station – Wednesday 7 July, departed 11.49am, arrived 12.17pm
T4 Line: From Hurstville Station to Wynyard Station – Thursday 8 July, departed 5.44am, arrived 6.18am
T4 Line: From Wynyard Station to Hurstville Station – Thursday 8 July, departed 8.34am, arrived 9.05am
Anyone who attended the following venue at the times listed must monitor for symptoms and if they occur get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received:
Bondi Junction: Westfield – Friday 9 July, 6pm – 7pm
Haymarket: Tong Li Supermarket – Wednesday 7 July, 5.35pm- 5.50pm
Haymarket: Pontip Thai Market – Saturday 10 July, 12.10pm – 12.20pm
Bondi Junction: Kmart – Friday 9 July, 11.45am – 12.05pm
St Ives: St Ives Shopping Village – Friday 9 July, 6pm – 7pm, and Monday 12 July, 5.20pm – 6pm
Frenchs Forest: Forestway Shopping Centre – Sunday 11 July, 1.30pm – 2.15pm
Blacktown: Westpoint – Monday 12 July, 12pm – 1.30pm
Before this week, the state’s previous highest daily count for locally acquired cases was 72 on April 1 last year.
Most of the new cases recorded on Tuesday were in the city’s southwest, while 20 were in the southeast or inner city, as the outbreak continues to shift away from its original epicentre in the eastern suburbs.
Some 27 positive cases were not in isolation for all or part of their infectious period – a figure playing on the minds of authorities.
‘We need to get that as close to zero as possible,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Meanwhile, NSW Health announced 50 exposure sites on Tuesday night, including a Coles, Woolworths, Dan Murphy’s and an Aldi supermarket.
Six of the venues are considered tier one sites, meaning anyone who visited at the listed times are considered a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
Before this week, the state’s previous highest daily count for locally acquired cases was 72 on April 1 last year (pictured, testing in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay on Tuesday)
The sites are situated across several suburbs in southwest Sydney, including Fairfield, Fairfield East, Edensor Park, Smithfield, Penrith, Jamisontown, Greenacre, Yagoona, Bankstown and Emu Plains further west.
The health advice applies to anyone who visited the Primary Health Care and Medical Dental Care pharmacy on Wednesday July 7 between 9.45pm to 10pm or Greenacre’s Sydney Wide Building Materials on Friday July 9 from 6.50am to 7.20am.
A positive case also visited Condell Park IGA on Monday July 12 between 8.55am and 9.10am.
The new alert also includes G James Glass and Aluminium in Smithfield after an employee worked 11 hour shifts at the site for four days from July 6 to July 9 while infectious.
Ms Berejiklian has warned Sydney’s lockdown (pictured on Tuesday) will remain in place until the number of cases infectious while in the community drastically decreases
The dozens of casual contact sites include three Woolworths, and four busy shopping plazas.
While the majority of the sites were concentrated in Sydney’s southwest, a few venues of concern were listed in the northern suburbs of St Ives and Frenchs Forest, raising alarm the virus could be spreading in other parts of the city.
A man aged in his 70s from Sydney’s eastern suburbs became the second death in the latest outbreak on Tuesday after a woman in her 90s died over the weekend, taking the national death toll to 912 since the pandemic began.
A construction worker who had the virus while working in Goulburn – about 200km from his home in Sydney – has prompted new restrictions for essential workers.
Anyone performing essential work who lives or works in the Fairfield local government area must be tested every three days, while anyone from Greater Sydney travelling to the regions for work must be tested weekly.
Workers must carry proof of their last negative test, such as an SMS.
Three venues at Westfield Penrith Plaza (pictured) in Sydney’s west have been confirmed as Covid exposure sites by NSW Health
Dr Chant said health authorities were assessing whether restrictions would need to be tightened outside of Greater Sydney as a result.
‘It does highlight why people cannot be complacent about the risk anywhere,’ she said.
NSW Police continue to guard the perimeter of a Bondi Junction apartment block, where nine COVID cases have been identified across five different households.
Meanwhile, generous federal support package has been agreed for NSW businesses hit by Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Ms Berejiklian have announced JobKeeper-style payments that go above and beyond arrangements during Victoria’s most recent lockdown.
The Bunnings at Belrose (pictured) is also an exposure site with two 45 minutes windows on Thursday July 8 between 7pm and 7.45 pm and on Sunday July 11 between 1.15pm and 2pm
‘Clearly, here in NSW, the situation has taken a very different turn,’ Mr Morrison said in Sydney.
‘We think this gives people the encouragement to see it through.’
He said the support is in the national interest and will be offered to any other state or territory that experiences an extended lockdown.
From week four of a lockdown in a declared hotspot, the disaster payment will increase to $600 if a person has lost 20 or more hours of work a week, or $375 for between eight and less than 20 hours of work a week foregone.
A direct payment to businesses will go to those with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50million who can demonstrate a 30 per cent decline in turnover.
Not-for-profit organisations will receive between $1,500 and $10,000 per week based on the level of their payroll.
For sole traders, the payment will be set at $1,000 per week.
‘I’m grateful for the speed with which the Commonwealth has responded to the issues we raised,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Aldi in Sydney’s south-west at Fairfield (pictured) was one of 50 exposure sites confirmed by NSW Health on Tuesday
Payments will be made available across NSW, with the costs shared 50/50 between the NSW and federal governments.
There is also a $17.35 million mental health support package for NSW including for services through Lifeline, headspace and Kid’s Helpline.
Mr Morrison ruled out another early access to superannuation scheme.
The NSW government will separately offer rent relief for commercial and residential tenants and payroll tax deferrals for businesses.
Economists have estimated the cost of the lockdown at $1billion a week, even with many businesses still open.
The prime minister joined community leaders on a Zoom call as the outbreak spreads into Sydney’s west where language barriers are feared to have prevented the stay at home message from getting through.
‘Stay at home. Get vaccinated. That’s it,’ Mr Morrison said.