28 COVID-19 cases confirmed in NSW

NSW Health today confirmed three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 28 in the state since the outbreak began. 

Two of the new cases, a 24-year-old female and 21-year-old male, are both staff members at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge Aged Care Facility.  Four residents and three staff members have now been confirmed as cases at the facility to date.

A 94-year-old female resident passed away earlier this week and subsequently tested positive to COVID-19. The family of the elderly woman have all tested negative.  

The latest case in NSW to be diagnosed, the 28th person, is an 18-year-old female. She is a household contact of another recent case in Western Sydney.  

An overnight case, a 16-year-old student from Epping Boys High School, was admitted to Westmead Children’s Hospital and is in a stable condition. His mother, who works at Ryde Hospital, has undergone testing but is currently well. Several other family members have also undergone testing with results expected tomorrow.  

Dr Chant urged media not to speculate on the source of transmission and reminded the public that this virus does not discriminate based on age, race, or sex.  

“As I have said previously, I am concerned about social media posts targeting particular people or suburbs and I ask that we show compassion to those who have contracted COVID-19,” Dr Chant said.  

NSW Health public health specialists are working with the School Leadership team and Department of Education to identify the student’s movements to assess the situation.

The Department of Education has set up a hotline for the school community to assist in any concerns. Close contacts are being contacted and will be in quarantine for 14 days. Other students are being asked to monitor for respiratory symptoms or fever.  

NSW Health has been able to contact all but two attendees at a radiology workshop at a Liverpool Hospital attended by an earlier case. One attendee, a doctor from Liverpool Hospital was confirmed as a case earlier this week.

Other attendees who are unwell have all tested negative to COVID-19.  A health care worker at Canterbury Hospital tested positive to COVID-19 having recently returned from Iran and was diagnosed on Wednesday, 4 March. She worked while infectious at Canterbury Hospital on 25 February and 3 March. Staff members who were identified as close and casual contacts are all in home quarantine.

A further three contacts who were symptomatic are being tested, and a remaining staff member will be followed up today.  In addition, three patients of the infected care worker were identified as close contacts and have all been contacted and have no symptoms of COVID-19.  

All children and staff from the Banksia childcare centre, who attended last night’s clinic for testing, have tested negative to COVID-19.  NSW emergency departments are continuing to see increasing numbers of patients presenting, above seasonal averages.

Presentations for influenza-like illnesses are well above historic averages, as are those for other types of respiratory illnesses. There is no indication that these presentation have coronavirus, and most likely reflect patients with summer influenza and patients seeking testing for coronavirus.  

“It is timely to remind the community that emergency departments are for emergencies,” Dr Chant said.  

“While we see and treat everyone, we will always prioritise more seriously unwell patients.

Please consider calling your GP or healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222. GPs can arrange for COVID-19 testing, or if you are very unwell, you can also call ahead before attending your local emergency department for assessment.  

“It is important people take action to keep their family and friends safe. Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor if you have any symptoms.” 

Health workers in NSW public hospitals and community-based GPs have been issued advice to help them identify any cases and apply careful infection control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.