8 July 2020

Victorian teenager tests positive for COVID-19 on South Coast holiday

| Dominic Giannini
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Tathra Hotel

The teen visited the Tathra Hotel while infected, the NSW Chief Health Officer said. Photo: Elka Wood.

A mistake from health authorities in Victoria has led to a teenager travelling to the South Coast while he was infectious with COVID-19.

The teenager and his family were tested for COVID-19 before heading to Merimbula. They were told the tests were negative but when they arrived in NSW they were told the teenage boy’s test was actually positive. The family is currently isolating in Merimbula.

The only close non-family contacts the family had occurred when they visited the Tathra Hotel, the NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said.

A COVID Safety plan at the Tathra Hotel means the risk to patrons is very low, Dr Chant said, but she advised that 80 people were on the contact tracing list provided by the hotel when the teenager was there.

Dr Chant has urged people from the South Coast communities to come forward and get tested to help stop the spread of the virus, and has warned people displaying symptoms against travelling, going to work or taking public transport.

“The boy and his family are not from a hotspot and travelled to NSW on 4 July,” Dr Chant said.

“Their actions have been exemplary. They did exactly what we wanted people to do. The child had symptoms, they got tested, they got clearance before taking those actions.

“I believe it was a genuine error, that they had provided a negative result when it should have been a positive result. Everyone has to understand that there is a lot of testing and there will occasionally be these errors.

“The other key message is it does not give you a licence to go out and about if you have symptoms,” she said.

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