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Coronavirus Australia: NSW Premier denies nurses were sent back to work without negative Covid test

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has denied reports nurses were forced back into hospitals before returning negative Covid-19 test results. 

Ms Berejiklian was asked to comment on reports that health workers in emergency departments had been asked to come to work instead of isolating. 

‘I’ve never heard of anyone forced to work when they should be isolating,’ the NSW premier said just moments after the state recorded 239 new cases of Covid-19. 

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has denied reports nurses were forced back into hospitals before returning negative Covid-19 test results

Ms Berejiklian was asked to comment on reports that health workers working in emergency departments had been asked to come to work instead of isolating. Pictured: A Sydney nurse

Ms Berejiklian was asked to comment on reports that health workers working in emergency departments had been asked to come to work instead of isolating. Pictured: A Sydney nurse

There are 54 patients being treated in the intensive care unit with a large number under 60 years of age. Seven are in their 20s, five are in their 30s, two in their 40s and six in their 50s. 

During the Berejiklian Government’s Covid update on Sunday, a reporter highlighted a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases within the emergency department of a key hospital in Sydney. 

They claimed nurses who were close contacts of the emerging cases were forced to go back to work before receiving a negative test result due to increasing numbers of ICU patients. 

‘I haven’t seen evidence of that. If that was the case, I would dispute because we [have] many staff members on the beat of over 140,000 people working in the health system,’ the premier replied. 

‘So it is really important to note that when you are in the middle of the pandemic and having cases every day, it stretches things.’

Ms Berejiklian said even though the vast majority of healthcare workers were vaccinated, they could still catch the virus and pass it to others.  

During the state's Covid update on Sunday, a reporter highlighted a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases within the emergency department of a key hospital in Sydney. Pictured: Health workers prepare to get Covid-19 test samples at a testing site in Sydney

During the state’s Covid update on Sunday, a reporter highlighted a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases within the emergency department of a key hospital in Sydney. Pictured: Health workers prepare to get Covid-19 test samples at a testing site in Sydney

The reporter claimed nurses who were close contacts of the emerging cases were forced to go back to work before receiving a negative test result. Pictured: A masked woman in Sydney

The reporter claimed nurses who were close contacts of the emerging cases were forced to go back to work before receiving a negative test result. Pictured: A masked woman in Sydney

The premier said non-vaccinated residents who unknowingly had the virus and entered an emergency department put extra pressure on the hospital system.

‘But please know that the system is meeting the challenge and we have reallocated resources we have needed here,’ Ms Berejiklian reassured the public. 

‘I get briefings from our health officials are daily as to how resources are reallocated to fight the pandemic.’

Deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty also dismissed the claims and said the health system had a range of surveillance strategies for ensuring nurses were tested regularly. 

‘We have a low threshold for ensuring staff and patients are safer so we have a well thought through matrix of decision-making that takes account a number of factors,’ he said.

The health officer said in some circumstances healthcare workers were not asked to isolate following a risk assessment and continued testing.

However, Dr McAnulty reiterated anyone considered a close contact by NSW Health would not be forced back to work.  

Dr Jeremy McAnulty also dismissed the claims and said the health system had a range of surveillance strategies for ensuring nurses are tested regularly

Dr Jeremy McAnulty also dismissed the claims and said the health system had a range of surveillance strategies for ensuring nurses are tested regularly

Meanwhile, the premier renewed calls for Sydneysiders to get vaccinated amid the worrying case numbers. Pictured: Two girls line up for a Covid test in Melbourne's CBD

Meanwhile, the premier renewed calls for Sydneysiders to get vaccinated amid the worrying case numbers. Pictured: Two girls line up for a Covid test in Melbourne’s CBD

Meanwhile, the premier renewed calls for Sydneysiders to get vaccinated amid the worrying case numbers. 

‘Today is August 1 and I am calling upon the people of greater Sydney, and New South Wales, to come forward and get vaccinated,’ she said.

‘To get to the 70 per cent target we need 9.2 million jabs. To get the 80 per cent target we need 10 million jabs. We have been talking about this in NSW for some time.’  

The figures announced on Sunday marks the second time the state has reported a record 239 cases – after first recording the number on Thursday. Cases then dipped to 170 on Friday before jumping back to 210 on Saturday 

Dr McAnulty also said an alarming number of cases were detected among childcare workers.

He strongly urged parents to consider keeping their children at home to curb the spread of infection through daycares. 

‘It is a reminder, please reserve childcare centres if you really need to have your child in child care,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, keep them at home to minimise the spread through childcare.’ 

Nine residents living at a Summer Hill aged care facility have also tested positive.

'Today is August 1 and I am calling upon the people of greater Sydney, and New South Wales, to come forward and get vaccinated,' Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday

‘Today is August 1 and I am calling upon the people of greater Sydney, and New South Wales, to come forward and get vaccinated,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday

Greater Sydney and surrounding regions are in lockdown until at least August 28, as authorities battle to contain the Delta outbreak. Pictured: People exercising in Parramatta Park

Greater Sydney and surrounding regions are in lockdown until at least August 28, as authorities battle to contain the Delta outbreak. Pictured: People exercising in Parramatta Park

‘On a regular basis we are seeing cases in hospital settings or aged care settings and we have even had some disability settings as well,’ Mr McAnulty said.

‘So there is an outbreak in a Summer Hill aged care facility with I understand nine residents affected. Fortunately, many of those have been vaccinated. As I understand it, the ones with vaccination are doing relatively well.’ 

Dr McAnulty warned younger residents were the biggest spreaders of the virus.

‘We are seeing cases at high rates in those age group,’ he said.

‘This is the age group that tends to be a link between kids, younger people, and older, elderly relatives.

‘They are working, they have big social networks, if you are in that age group it is important that you be aware that you are very vulnerable to the infection, as we have seen in ICU numbers you can get serious disease. It is important you come forward for vaccination.’ 

Sydney and surrounding regions are in lockdown until at least August 28, as authorities battle to contain the Delta outbreak. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk