The growing cluster linked to a Sydney CBD gym is proof of how quickly virus outbreaks can spiral out of control, the NSW chief health officer says.
Dr Kerry Chant on Friday announced six new cases were linked to the Sydney CBD cluster associated with the gym at the City Tattersalls Club. That cluster now numbers 14.
The infections have also caused the shutdown of a number of other venues across the city and prompted an extension of visitor restrictions for aged care facilities until September 12.
“It highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread in the sense we have a seeding event, its amplification and then that has seeded other workplaces and lead to exposure in the community to a number of venues that we have announced,” Dr Chant said.
Also of concern is the fact that almost half of Sydney-based COVID-19 patients did not seek testing until at least three days after their symptoms developed.
All NSW residents should be seeking testing as soon as possible if they feel ill, she says.
Anyone who attended the City Tattersalls gym between 8am and 2pm on August 19, 21, 23 or 24 should also get tested and isolate at home for 14 days.
Across the state, 13 new infections were recorded and another four Sydney schools shut. Only one of the new cases was a returned overseas traveller, with the rest being locally acquired.
The NSW Education department issued an alert on Friday afternoon for parents to collect their children from Double Bay Public School in Sydney’s east and Homebush Public School in the west saying it was closing the schools.
“NSW Education has been advised by NSW Health that a Double Bay Public School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as a staff member at the Cubbyhouse Childcare, an out of school hours centre located at Homebush Public School,” the statement said.
The alert came after two other schools were closed on Friday – Ryde Secondary College, in the city’s northwest, and St Gertrude’s Catholic primary school in Smithfield in Sydney’s west.
All staff and students have been asked to self-isolate while contact tracing occurs and the schools are deep cleaned.
It comes as Dr Chant changed her mind about private school sporting competitions, allowing them to resume from Saturday.
Private schools in the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW will be able to hold matches after rules limiting all school sport to public school zones were relaxed.
But the schools will still have to adhere to strict COVID-safe guidelines, with all spectators banned from attending games.
On Friday night NSW Health issued an advisory extending visitor restrictions at aged care facilities until September 12.
People in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area and the Central Coast are urged to refrain from visiting aged care homes “to prevent the entry of COVID-19 into this vulnerable setting,” the department said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press