8 September 2021

UPDATED: Batemans Bay and Cooma venues of COVID-19 concern released

| Kim Treasure
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Batemans Bay COVID clinic

A pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic has opened in Batemans Bay. Photo: Kim Treasure.

UPDATED 6:30 pm: Health authorities have finally released the information the Batemans Bay community has been waiting for – a list of venues of concern.

The post office, Dan Murphy’s and Woolworths have been listed as potential exposure sites, and anyone who was a customer during the times listed below is considered to be a casual contact and should get tested and isolate immediately.

Staff from each venue will be assessed by the Public Health Unit to determine if they are close or casual contacts.

The venues are:

  • Batemans Bay, Dan Murphy’s, Saturday 4 September, 9:00 am to 10:00 am;
  • Batemans Bay, Woolworths, Friday 3 September 8:00 am to 9:00 am, and Saturday 4 September, 8:00 am to 9:30 am;
  • Batemans Bay Post Office, Saturday 4 September, 9:00 am to 9:10 am.

The community has been frustrated by delays in contact tracing, with Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirming earlier today (Wednesday, 8 September) that the case was being uncooperative.

Meanwhile, the Southern NSW Local Health District said the source of a Cooma case, that will be reported in tomorrow’s numbers, was still under investigation.

It said the PHU was working with a number of venues to inform close contacts of infectious cases and provide rapid swabbing where appropriate.

The Cooma venues of concern are:

  • China Town Chinese Restaurant, Sharp St, Cooma, Thursday 2 September 5:15 pm to 5:50 pm, and Saturday 4 September 11:40 am to 11:58 am;
  • Cooma Woolworths, Vale St, Thursday 2 September 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm;
  • Metro 24Hrs Petrol, Sharp St, Thursday 2 September 7:15 pm to 7:25 pm, and Saturday 4 September 9:50 am to 10:00 am;
  • Alpine Hotel, Sharp St, Saturday 4 September 12:00 pm to 12:45 pm.

The PHU is also working with Ochre Health in Cooma to support patients and staff identified as casual and close contacts at the surgery at 184 Sharp Street.

If additional venues are identified through further contact tracing these will be announced as soon as they are known.

Anyone who checked in to a venue of concern during the times listed, using the Service NSW QR app, will be notified by SMS from NSW Health as soon as possible over the next 24 hours.

Everyone in the district should be alert for any symptoms that could signal COVID-19, including headache, nausea, sore throat, runny nose, cough, loss of smell or taste, or fever. If symptoms appear, people must isolate and get tested immediately, and remain isolated until a negative result is received.

A pop up, drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic is open daily at Hanging Rock, Beach Road, Batemans Bay, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm until Sunday 12 September.

1:30 pm: The first person to be detected with COVID-19 in Batemans Bay in more than a year is not helping health authorities trace potential exposure sites in the area.

After days of speculation, Deputy Premier John Barilaro has confirmed the patient’s lack of cooperation is behind the delay in releasing more information about the case.

“It’s solely why that’s being delayed,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The level of movement that occurred, no registration of where they had been, not cooperative in relation to telling us their movements or who they may have been in contact with and that makes it very, very difficult.

“Everything has been tried here, and it’s very difficult to get people to tell the truth. We rely on people to be honest.

“I hope at some point we can get the answers.”

Mr Barilaro acknowledged the lack of clarity was leading to a “level of anxiety” in the community but said residents should take some comfort from the fact that the only other case in Batemans Bay so far was a “very close contact of the first case”.

“It will take 14 days to be clear of this but that’s the only thing that gives us a bit of hope,” he said.

READ ALSO Venues of concern released for Goulburn, Cooma and Yass, no word on Batemans Bay case

11:30 AM: A second case of COVID-19 has emerged in Batemans Bay, a close contact of the initial case that was reported earlier this week.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro told today’s briefing the Southern Area Health Service had recorded no new cases of COVID-19 to 8:00 pm Tuesday; however, two cases had come to light today.

One of the cases is in Cooma, while the other is a close contact of Monday’s mystery COVID-19 case in Batemans Bay.

Yesterday Mr Barilaro said the Batemans Bay case was a “complex issue” and refused to elaborate further.

“I have been told some of the scenario and what it looks like,” he said. “There could be concerns and we need to get that out there sooner rather than later.”

Mr Barilaro said health authorities would reveal more details “when they can”.

READ ALSO Bay COVID-19 case ‘quite ill’, no venues of concern at this stage

Yesterday afternoon Southern NSW Local Health District authorities said there were no venues of concern for Batemans Bay, but investigations were ongoing.

“Our contact tracing team is working closely with the case who is quite ill as a result of their COVID-19 infection. Close contacts have already been notified,” a spokesperson said.

“NSW Health only lists venues of concern if there is a chance that a member of the public came into contact with a person who was infectious with COVID-19. Closed workplaces, for example, are often not listed as our public health team has already contacted all close or casual contacts early in the investigation.

“We understand how important clear and timely communication is at a time like this. Rest assured, we will always share case and venue of concern information as soon as we can.”

A pop-up testing clinic has opened at Batemans Bay on Beach Road. It is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, until Sunday 12 September.

NSW recorded 1480 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths in the reporting period to 8:00 pm last night.

More details to come.

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A. Richardson4:48 pm 08 Sep 21

I think it’s someone from Canberra after masses of Canberrans arrived just before the lockdown. Could even be a politician, why else would it be kept a secret – meanwhile who knows how many locals are at risk.
Just who’s interest is more important than our local residents who have been doing the right thing.

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