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UPDATED: Eden, Bermagui residents urged to test after two possible COVID venues identified

Genevieve Jacobs1 January 2021
Vial of blood

Two Victorians who were in Eden and Bermagui have tested positive for COVID-19. Photo: File.

3pm, January 1: Bega Valley mayor Russell Fitzpatrick has urged all visitors to the Great Southern Hotel in Eden and the Beachside Cafe in Bermagui on December 30 and 31 to get tested for COVID and self isolate immediately.

“The NSW Government has today announced two visitors to our region have tested positive to COVID-19″, Cr Fitzpatrick said.

The cases travelled to New South Wales from Victoria on 30 December 2020 and had dinner at the Great Southern Hotel in Eden from 5pm to 6.30pm. They also ate at the Beachside Café in Bermagui from 9am to 10am on 31 December. Contact tracing is now underway.

“If you visited those venues within those times, whether you’re a local or a visitor, please get tested”, Cr Fitzpatrick said.

The two positive cases in question are believed to have been tested as soon as they found out they were close contacts of a confirmed case. The tests were carried out while they were in NSW and the two patients have since returned to Victoria.

The cases are believed to be linked to Victoria’s Black Rock cluster and Cr Fitzpatrick said this was an important reminder that we need to remain vigilant wherever we are. The Far South Coast is a popular holiday spot for Victorians.

“Please continue to maintain physical distancing, wear a mask if you can’t keep 1.5 metres away from others, and self-isolate and get tested if you feel unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms, to help keep our community safe.”

A Facebook post from the Bermagui Beach Cafe this morning said “All staff have been contacted and are all getting COVID tested and are in isolation awaiting results and instructions from the health department.

“We are very confident in our COVID safety plan and have followed all rules [and] enforce these rules to keep everyone safe.

“Anyone who visited the [cafe] at these times will be contacted.”

The Beachside Cafe at Bermagui. Photo: Facebook.

There have been long queues as Victorian holidaymakers on the Far South Coast attempt to return to Victoria before the midnight deadline. Those returning today will have to test and self isolate for 14 days, while travellers who made the crossing before midnight last night were only asked to take a test and isolate until their results came through.

A drive through testing clinic is available at South East Regional Hospital (Bega) until 7pm today, and from 7am to 7pm tomorrow.

Council is working closely with the Southern NSW Local Health District to stand up pop up clinics in Bermagui and Eden from tomorrow. More information will be provided as details are confirmed.

A full list of clinics in the Southern NSW Local Health District is available here,

12.30pm, January 1:

Far South Coast communities are on alert after contact tracers in Victoria discovered that two Victorians with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis recently travelled to the NSW Far South Coast.

The pair visited the Great Southern Hotel in Eden on Wednesday, 30 December, from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. They also visited Bermi’s Beachside Café in Bermagui on the next day between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.*

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told media this morning that contact tracers were in the process of contacting the venues.

NSW Health is working with Victorian health authorities and Dr Chant said that people in the Bermagui area should monitor for symptoms.

“It is important if you are hearing this and you know anybody within the Bermagui area that you reach to them and make sure that they are aware of the situation,” Dr Chant said.

“We understand that there may be a lot of visitors who have travelled to that part [of the state] over the festive season.”

NSW has recorded three new cases of COVID-19, all located in Western Sydney. Two are from the same household and one is a close contact of someone in that house, but none of the cases is linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has asked anyone living in the suburbs of Greystanes, Auburn, Lidcombe and Berala to be on high alert for symptoms.

However, genomic testing has now revealed that the larger Croydon and Avalon clusters and the two cases recently identified in Wollongong are all linked. One of the Croydon cases and another from Wollongong attended the same restaurant in Wollongong on 19 December.

Anyone at the Swallowed Anchor Tapas and Wine Bar in Crown St, Wollongong on that date should immediately get tested and self-isolate.

Across NSW 32,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

*Amended to update times

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