15 September 2021

UPDATED: False positives in Merimbula while Bay outbreak grows to six

| Kim Treasure
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Nurse preparing COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine

A nurse preparing a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. Authorities are continuing to urge people to get vaccinated. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 2:00 pm: Deputy Premier John Barilaro has done little to quell rumours a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Batemans Bay was triggered by a recently released Parklea prisoner and a subsequent party.

Questioned directly about the alleged incident, Mr Barilaro cited privacy concerns for his inability to comment but admitted “locals have a good feel for what is going on in their area”.

“When there is a lot of chatter on the ground, rarely is it completely wrong,” he said. “I’m sure it’s in the ballpark.”

The Batemans Bay outbreak grew to six today, with two more close contacts of known cases recorded.

There was good news for the Far South Coast, however, with Mr Barilaro confirming two reported cases of COVID-19 at Merimbula had turned out to be false positives.

READ ALSO Lockdown to lift for parts of NSW, new venues of concern on Far South Coast

“That does change the dynamics for the Bega local government area because that would mean there are no active cases in the Bega Valley Shire and we’ll have to give consideration to what happens next,” Mr Barilaro said.

There was good news as well for Young residents, with Mr Barilaro saying the person who was infectious in the community there had left and had had limited exposure in the town.

“There are no active cases in that community and that’s the most important part.”

The Crisis Committee will meet this afternoon, with a decision on which LGAs move in or out of lockdown expected at 11:00 am tomorrow.

11:30 am: The Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has recorded seven new COVID-19 cases in the reporting period to 8:00 pm last night.

Two of those cases are in Yass and are close contacts of a known Yass case, another case is in Batemans Bay and another in the suburb of Catalina – both are close contacts of known Batemans Bay cases.

Goulburn has recorded two new cases, one is a close contact of a known Goulburn case and the other is a close contact of an Albion Park case.

One new case is located in Googong and is linked to the ACT.

A further two cases previously reported in the NSW total as being under investigation have now been confirmed to be in Queanbeyan. These cases are linked to the ACT.

A COVID-19 positive child attended Yass Public School for a short period of time on Monday 13 September. The SNSWLHD Public Health Unit has been working closely with the school to identify close contacts.

The school closed on Tuesday 14 September for deep cleaning and will reopen today, Wednesday 15 September.

Additionally, a COVID-19 positive child attended the Yass Pre-Kindergarten on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 September. The kindergarten has been closed and close contacts have been informed and tested and are in isolation.

There are no venues of concern for any of these cases at this stage. Most cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period as they were known household or close contacts of existing cases.
Venues of concern are kept updated on the SNSWLHD website here.

Any further venues of concern that are identified through contact tracing will be announced as soon as they are known.

A pop up testing clinic has been established in Eden and will run until tomorrow, Thursday 16 September, in response to COVID-19 traces being detected in the sewage. This clinic will run 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Twofold Arcade car park.

Virus fragments have also been detected at the Bermagui sewage treatment plant.

11:00 am: Health authorities are working to identify close and casual contacts after a COVID-19 case was linked to the Southern Meats abattoir in Goulburn today, (15 September).

Southern NSW Local Health District says the case will be included in tomorrow’s numbers.

Capital Pathology will open a pop up COVID-19 testing clinic at 7 am at 2 Bourke Street Goulburn, tomorrow, 15 September. Pre-registration is recommended via the Capital Pathology website.

There are more than 500 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. A full list of SNSWLHD’s clinic sites and hours is available here.

READ ALSO Warnings fly about use of ivermectin as COVID-19 drug

Anyone with even the slightest of symptoms is being urged to get tested.

NSW has recorded 1259 locally acquired cases to 8 pm last night. Twelve people lost their lives.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said sewage virus fragment detection continued to be an important tool.

After COVID fragments detected in Young led to increased testing, an infected person has been identified. The person was infectious in the community in Wagga, Young and Mudgee.

“We urge people to be vigilant for the symptoms,” Dr Chant said.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • If you are unwell, get tested and isolate right away – don’t delay.
  • Book a COVID-19 vaccination via the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Take hand sanitiser with you when you go out.
  • Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask at all times when outside your home, except when exercising.

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Looks like it’s time to double vaccinate prisoners before they are afforded freedom.

We must all realise the colony of NSW was birthed on a penal system, but how far have we progressed if we are releasing Covid 19 individuals, willy nilly, into the community, in 2021?

Do they know of the whereabouts of all people who were attending so-called party at Batemans Bay?
Have they been identified and isolated to stop any further spread ?
Mr.Barilaro must answer these questions as every time we have another case from this group our lockdown is extended.

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