A Covid-infected nurse who worked at two busy hospitals in Sydney has 100 close contacts already identified, with wards now blocked off from visitors.
New South Wales Health confirmed the student nurse, 24, worked at the Royal North Shore hospital for five days while potentially carrying the virus and also did shifts at the Fairfield hospital.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said the wards where she had worked from June 24 to June 28 have now been quarantined to quell any potential spread.
The wards include the cardiology and a general abdominal surgery ward at Royal North Shore Hospital and the Fairfield’s rehabilitation ward.
Both of these hospital departments are no longer admitting any new patients.
‘We know that the student nurse worked whilst infectious on a number of days, and obviously immediately our health team swung into action,’ Dr Chant said.
‘We are also arranging testing for any staff that may have come in contact.
‘I’m pleased to say that to date the tests have been negative, but it’s much too early to tell, whether we will have any transmission and we have taken a very broad, infectious period because of our concern about the vulnerability of health care settings.’
The worrying case has put health authorities on high alert with contact tracers identifying over 100 as close contacts, now forced into isolation.
Other sections of the hospital have now reopened after a massive deep-cleaning operation.
The state has recorded 22 local cases of Covid-19 overnight – giving hope to Sydney residents the city’s hard 14-day lockdown could be eased by next Friday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said only 11 of the cases were in isolation for the entire time they were infectious.
All of the additional cases recorded from 68,220 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night are linked to previous infections.
Of the other 11 cases, five of them were in self-isolation for part of their infectious period – but Ms Berejiklian said six were out in the community for a ‘number of days’.
An outbreak of the deadly Delta variant in the city that started on June 16 has now grown to 171 local infections.
The latest figures came as the NSW government announced the use of QR codes would become mandatory in workplaces and retail businesses.
Those using universities, offices, warehouses, TAFE facilities, supermarkets and individual stores in shopping centres will all have to use the Service NSW QR code system to check-in and out from July 12.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said a new positive case since the 8pm cut-off was a 24-year-old student nurse who had worked at Fairfield Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital for multiple days across three wards while infectious.
Sydneysiders queue outside a vaccination centre in the city on Tuesday. New South Wales has recorded 22 local cases of Covid-19 overnight
NEW SOUTH WALES’ NEW QR CODE RULES
The use of QR codes will become mandatory in workplaces and retail businesses from July 12.
These businesses will need to display the Service NSW QR code at their entrance and ensure those entering are using the check-in facility:
– Retail businesses and supermarkets
– Individual shops within shopping centres
– Shopping centres will also be asked to display QR codes at entry points where practicable
– Offices, including call centres
– Manufacturing and warehousing
– Universities and TAFE
– Schools including teachers and visitors (such as parents and contractors) but excluding students.
‘The wards that staff member worked at have been locked down – they’re not taking in any additional patients,’ she said.
Dr Chant said tests so far on staff in the affected wards had returned negative results, but that it was too soon to say whether there would be any more linked transmission.
Health officials said another four of the cases were linked to the West Hoxton birthday party in the city’s outer west. That outbreak has grown to 38 cases.
Another four have been linked to an outbreak of cases at the Crossways Hotel in Strathfield south in Sydney’s inner-west.
Ms Berejiklian on Wednesday also revealed she came within only three metres of NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall after he contracted Covid-19.
She tested negative to the virus on Thursday morning after being deemed a casual contact of a confirmed case.
‘Minister Marshall came into my office at about 3.30pm. He was there for about two minutes,’ she said.
‘He spoke to one of my staff members. He was around three metres away from me – it was at a point when he wasn’t that infectious.
‘I just followed the health advice when they [contact tracers] asked me questions about it. They said, ‘You are now deemed casual’.’
Ms Berejiklian said she was confident the lockdown would end on time next week if Sydneysiders continued to follow the tough stay-at-home orders for 10 more days.
‘If we keep doing the right thing, everything we hope to achieve can be achieved in the time-frame that we’ve discussed,’ she said.
Pedestrians are pictured wearing face masks in the Sydney CBD on Monday. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was confident the lockdown would end on time next week if Sydneysiders continued to follow the tough stay-at-home orders for 10 more days
New data overnight meanwhile showed how Sydney’s Covid outbreak has led to infections spreading across 48 postcodes, from the city’s far east out to the west, north of the Harbour Bridge and in the southern suburbs.
Dramatic data released by NSW Health shows how the highly-infectious Delta strain of the Covid-19 virus grew from one confirmed case in Bondi on June 16 to a cluster, before rapidly spilling into suburbs across Sydney and beyond in just two weeks.
The Bondi cluster is thought to have begun when an airport limo driver caught the Delta variant before sparking a outbreak that sent millions of Sydney residents into a city-wide, 14-day lockdown on Saturday.
Figures released by NSW Health show how the virulent strain of the Covid-19 virus grew from one confirmed case at Bondi on June 16, to a cluster there, then began to rapidly spill into suburbs across Sydney and beyond
The NSW Health data, broken down by postcode showed Sydney’s east remains the epicentre of the outbreak (pictured, a couple walk in Sydney’s Bondi during the lockdown)
People are tested for Covid-19 at a pop up clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Monday, June 28, 2021. More than five million people in Greater Sydney and its surrounds are in a 14-day lockdown with infected cases in 48 postcodes
The breakdown of active cases by postcode shows Sydney’s east remains the epicentre of the outbreak as of Monday, although the situation is continually evolving.
As of June 28, Bondi Beach/Tamarama (postcode 2026) leads the way with 15 active cases, ahead of Vaucluse/Dover Heights/Watsons Bay (2030) which had 12.
Bondi Junction/Queens Park (2022) was next with 11, ahead of Waterloo/Zetland (2017) with nine cases, then Maroubra/Pagewood/Eastgardens (2035) which had eight.
The Delta outbreak has spread into the city’s south-west too, with eight cases in the 2171 postcode (West Hoxton, Cecil Hills, Horningsea Park).
And it has gone as far west as Auburn (one case) and as far south as Wollongong/Fairy Meadow/Balgownie (four cases) and into the north-west, with one case in the 2155 postcode (Kellyville/Rouse Hill/Bella Vista).
The quick spread across greater Sydney illustrates the potential for exponential growth in infections.
Mounted police on patrol at Bondi Beach on Monday. More than five million people in Greater Sydney and its surrounds have gone into a 14-day lockdown
Sydney’s CBD is a much quieter place (pictured on Tuesday) with residents subject to a stay-at-home order which means people are asked not to leave home unless they have a good reason
Sydney, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour and the Central Coast are just four days into the 14-day lockdown.
Despite the success of the contact tracing system in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the Delta strain was testing the state with its biggest challenge since Covid emerged.
‘We have the best contact tracers in the world, but this is a strain we haven’t seen before,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We haven’t seen the contagious nature of it or the way it is transmitted so we appreciate everyone following the advice.’
The premier did offer some encouragement to Sydneysiders, saying modelling had predicted a bigger surge in cases by this point, meaning the lockdown was working.
Every Covid-19 case in NSW by postcode since June 15
Bondi Beach, Tamarama (2026): 15 cases
Vaucluse, Dover Heights, Watsons Bay (2030): 12 cases
Bondi Junction, Queens Park (2022): 11 cases
Maroubra, Pagewood, Eastgardens (2035): 8 cases
Randwick, Clovelly (2031): 4 cases
Woollahra (2025): 3 cases
Kensington (2033): 3 cases
Mascot (2020): 4 cases
Paddington, Moore Park, Centennial Park (2021): 2 cases
Rose Bay (2029): 2 cases
Bellevue Hill (2023): 2 cases
Rosebery, Eastlakes (2018): 1 case
Double Bay (2028): 1 case
Edgecliff, Point Piper (2027): 1 case
SYDNEY’S INNER CITY
Waterloo, Zetland (2017): 9 cases
Redfern (2016): 3 cases
Barangaroo, Sydney CBD (2000): 3 cases
Potts Point, Woolloomooloo, Rushcutters Bay (2011): 1 case
Camperdown (2050): 1 case
Surry Hills (2010): 1 case
SYDNEY’S INNER WEST
Five Dock, Russell Lea, Abbotsford, Chiswick, Canada Bay (2046): 2 cases
Drummoyne (2047): 1 case
Rhodes, Concord West, Liberty Grove (2138): 1 case
Auburn (2144): 1 case
SYDNEY’S INNER SOUTHWEST
Belmore (2192): 6 cases
Greenacre, Chullora (2190): 3 cases
Bankstown (2200): 1 case
Campsie (2194): 1 case
West Hoxton, Cecil Hills, Horningsea Park (2171): 8 cases
Narellan, Smeaton Grange, Mount Annan (2567): 5 cases
Green Valley, Miller, Hinchinbrook, Busby, Sadleir, Heckenberg (2168): 5 cases
Denham Court, Ingleburn (2565): 3 cases
Liverpool, Casula, Hoxton Park (2170): 3 cases
Bossley Park, Edensor Park, Prairiewood, Abbotsbury, St Johns Park (2176): 3 cases
Glenfield (2167): 2 cases
Gregory Hills, Gledswood Hills, Catherine Field, Rossmore (2557): 1 case
Fairfield, Fairfield West, Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights (2165): 1 case
Menai, Barden Ridge, Bangor, Alfords Point, Illawong (2232): 2 cases
Jannali, Bonnet Bay (2226): 1 case
Sans Souci, Dolls Point, Sandringham (2219): 1 case
Hurstville, Hurstville Grove (2220): 1 case
Arncliffe, Wolli Creek, Turrella (2205): 1 case
Penshurst (2222): 1 case
Ryde, Putney, Denistone East (2112): 1 case
Lindfield, East Lindfield (2070): 1 case
Kellyville, Rouse Hill, Bella Vista (2155): 1 case
GREATER SYDNEY AND REGIONS
Wollongong, Fairy Meadow, Balgownie (2519): 4 cases
Thirroul, Austinmer, Coledale, Wombarra, Scarborough (2515): 1 case
Cases without specific postcodes: 8 cases
Source: NSW Health
George Street is seen empty in the central business district in Sydney on Tuesday as the city continues its lockdown
Queues for vaccinations were hours long at some sites in Sydney on Tuesday (pictured) as fears of the outbreak spread
‘It’s early days, and I don’t want to regret what I’m about to say,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We had anticipated a surge in cases by today – that could very well happen in the next few days. But what it suggests to us is the health advice has been on the money.’
Hundreds of thousands of people are also on high alert after Covid-19 fragments were detected by NSW Health in wastewater treatment plants across the region.
On Tuesday, those plants included those servicing Camellia South, Paddington, Cronulla, Caringbah, Ireland Park, West Camden, St Mary’s, Lough Park, Maroubra, Auburn, Botany, and Bourke.
Ms Berejiklian said pushing ahead with mass vaccinations was the answer to life returning to normal.
‘Until the vast majority of our population is vaccinated we will have to continue to live differently,’ she said.
SYDNEY EXPOSURE SITES REVEALED TUESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY AFTERNOON
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until you receive further information from NSW Health
Bondi Junction: Fitness First – Friday June 25, 6.20am – 7.10am
Bondi Junction: Harvey Norman on June 25 from 11am to 11.40am
Blaxland: Supa IGA on June 27 from 6am to 4pm
North Strathfield: Fitness First on June 25 from 12.55pm to 1.15pm
Rose Bay: Chargrill Charlie’s on June 27 from 10.50am to 11.05am
Anyone who attended the following locations with the below store at the times listed is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of result
Ashfield: Service desk at Bunnings – Thursday June 24, 1.30pm – 8pm
Ashfield: Bunnings – Thursday June 24, 3.50pm – 4pm
Anyone who attended the Ashfield Bunnings store on Thursday June 24 between 12pm – 8pm is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result, and call 1800 943 553
Sydney: Uniqlo, Mid City Centre, Pitt Street Mall – Monday June 21, 10.15am – 11.15am
Zetland: MaLa Tang restaurant, East Village Shopping Centre – Monday June 21, 6.15pm – 7.15pm and Thursday June 24, 6pm – 7.15pm
Bondi Junction: Gusto Espresso Bar – Friday June 25, 6.45am – 7.25am
North Strathfield: Fitness First – Friday June 25, 11am – 1.30pm
Botany: One Drop Brewing Co – Friday June 25, 7.45pm – 10pm
Kingsgrove: Beautique Nail Spa – Saturday June 26, 9.30am – 10.30am
Haberfield: Happyfield – Saturday June 26, 2pm – 3pm
Bossley Park: Club Marconi (gaming area) – Saturday June 26, 3pm – 6pm
Strathfield South: Crossways Hotel – Friday June 25, 4pm – 10pm and Saturday June 26, 3.30pm – 6pm
Anyone who travelled on the following bus routes is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result
M90 bus: Strathfield to Strathfield – Friday June 25, 3.39pm – 3.50pm and 10.10pm – 10.17pm
526 bus: Homebush to Sydney Olympic Park – Saturday June 26, 9.33am – 9.44am
Anyone who attended any of the following venues at the times listed is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received
Bondi Junction: Five Star Hot Food and Sushi Bar – Tuesday June 22, 1.30pm – 2pm
Croydon: Ampol Foodary service station – Thursday June 24, 3.30pm – 3.35pm
Lane Cove: Ampol service station – Friday June 25, 1.45pm – 2pm
Chatswood: Guzman y Gomez – Friday June 25, 2.20pm – 2.50pm
Putney: Morrison Park Cricket Nets – Saturday June 26, 9.20am – 2.45pm
Rose Bay: Coles – Friday June 25, 7am – 7.30am
Kirribilli: Macchina Espresso – Saturday June 26, 9.15am – 9.35am
Gladesville: On Cowell – Saturday June 26, 9.40am – 9.50am
Hunters Hill: Boronia Park Gourmet Charcoal Chicken – Saturday June 26, 11.10am – 11.20am
Gladesville: Cellarbrations – Saturday June 26, 11.20am – 11.35am
Rose Bay: Bake Bar – Saturday June 26 – 1.15pm – 1.25pm
Bossley Park: Club Macroni (anywhere else in the club aside from the gaming area) – Saturday June 26, 3pm – 6pm
Kirribilli: Gelatissimo – Saturday June 26, 5pm – 5.15pm
Newington: Woolworths – Sunday June 27, 12pm – 1.20pm
Five Dock: Officeworks – Monday June 28 – 4.30pm – 4.55pm
Full list of exposure sites is here