Primary school shuts as hospital staff test positive
Two staff members at Liverpool Hospital have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours - with one linked to an existing cluster while the source of the second case is currently being investigated.
A spokesperson for South Western Sydney Local Health District said one of the workers was wearing a face mask and the other did not have contact with patients when they were infectious.
"NSW Health can confirm two Liverpool Hospital staff members have tested positive to
COVID-19 but any risk to patients is considered low," a spokesperson for the local health district said.
"All close and casual contacts have been identified and as is standard protocol, advised to
isolate, monitor and test for COVID-19 should any symptoms present."
The spokesperson said one of the staff members' source of infection is currently under investigation, and the other is linked to a known cluster however would not say which one.
Liverpool Hospital management informed staff that all close contacts of the two workers have been identified and are self-isolating.
"There is real value in wearing a mask especially when you are unable to maintain physical distancing. It is one of the ways we can protect not only ourselves, but others," the internal memo read.
"While this may result in increased anxiety within our staff, patients and community, we are doing our utmost to ensure that there has been no spread within the facility."
PARRAMATTA PUBLIC SHUTS OVER STUDENT CASE
A primary school in Sydney's west will be closed tomorrow after a student tested positive to COVID-19.
Parramatta Public School today alerted parents that students will be learning remotely tomorrow and the school will be deep cleaned.
As contact tracing gets underway students and staff are being asked to self isolate immediately.
The after hours school care this afternoon is continuing as usual but will be cancelled tomorrow.
TANGARA SCHOOL 'RETREAT' INVESTIGATED
Health authorities are investigating whether a cluster at Tangara School for Girls could be related to a school retreat.
There are now 17 infections associated with the Cherrybrook school, 11 in students after eight new cases were identified in the past day.
NSW Health officials are scrambling to find the source of the outbreak, which remains unknown. Contact-tracers are also still trying to work out how it spread inside the tight-knit school community.
Following the overnight spike in cases, Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged all schools to cancel "extra-curricular activities" that aren't allowed under COVID-safe plans.
"Extra-curricular activities, those excursions and overnight things which ordinarily you would do, are not acceptable during a pandemic," she said.
NSW recorded 22 new coronavirus cases in the past day - 16 were locally acquired and linked to known cases, four were returned overseas travellers, one was from Victoria and another is under investigation.
"At least a third, or eight of those are from the new cluster at the Tangara school," Ms Berejiklian said.
Two cases have also been connected to the Batemans Bay Soldiers' Club outbreak, one to the Lady of Mercy College school, another with the Thai Rock Wetherill Park and three to previous cases.
The Premier also revealed she expects the cluster connected to the Cherrybrook school to grow.
Yesterday authorities revealed an additional two cases linked to the school, which are recorded in today's numbers.
MAN CHARGED AFTER REFUSING TO SIGN-IN TO VENUE
A man has been charged for breaking COVID-19 restrictions after refusing to leave a Tweed Heads venue on Monday.
Police were called to the Wharf St hotel when a man was denied entry for refusing to sign-in with his contact details in case of contact tracing.
The 38-year-old refused to abide by the COVID safe rules and entered the hotel anyway, threatening and intimidating the manager.
Police found the man in the carpark when he became abusive towards officers after again being asked for his details.
While the man was being arrested another younger man with him also became aggressive towards the police, swearing at officers.
The older man who is from Banora Point was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with intimidating officers, stalk/intimidate with fear of physical harm, using offensive language, not leaving a premises and not complying with directions under COVID-19.
The 29-year-old was given an infringement for offensive language and told to move on.
In the state's Central West region police became aware a woman who had recently entered NSW from Victoria was not complying with her permit conditions on Sunday night.
Police confronted the woman at Lake Cargelligo on Monday morning and told her to comply with her permit, meaning she had to self-isolate at an address in Murrin Bridge.
Police again spoke to the 34-year-old on Tuesday morning and she was fined $1000.
VIRUS DETECTED IN NEWCASTLE SEWAGE
Viral fragments of COVID-19 have been detected in a sewage sample at Burwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Works near Newcastle.
The sample was taken by NSW Health as a part of research to test sewage for traces of the virus to support the public health response.
Wallsend MP Sonia Horney confirmed the result meant someone who had been infected was shedding the virus.
Infected people's stools can contain viral fragments, and shedding - when particles of the virus are discharged from the body - can go on for weeks after a person is infectious.
"With recent cases of COVID-19 identified in this wastewater catchment, which includes the Newcastle City area and surrounding suburbs of Dudley, Charlestown, Jesmond, Mayfield and Carrington, it's really important that anyone with symptoms in these communities gets tested," Ms Horney.
It is the second time COVID-19 has been detected in sewage, after traces were found in Perisher in July.
VICTORIA RECORDS ANOTHER 19 DEATHS
Meanwhile, Victoria has today recorded 19 COVID-19-related deaths for the second day running and 331 new cases.
A woman in her 50s, a man in his 70s, six women and four men in their 80s, four women and three men in their 90s are the latest Victorians to die of the virus.
Fourteen of the 19 deaths are linked to aged care outbreaks and the state's death toll now stands at 246.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews appeared before a parliamentary committee this morning to answer questions over his government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Victoria's trouble-plagued hotel quarantine inquiry has been the key focus of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing.
While deflecting most questions, Mr Andrews did say the use of private security to control hotel quarantine was an extension of services already on the ground and that ADF support was not on offer at the time.
Asked if he regrets the decision he responded: "No one wanted a second wave, none of us have the luxury of going back in time."
Serious failings of the program are believed to have caused Victoria's deadly second wave.
NT BORDER CLOSED FOR FURTHER 18 MONTHS
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has revealed the Territory's border controls will remain in place for at least another 18 months.
Currently, Sydney and Victoria are considered hot spots and anyone visiting the NT from these places must complete a two weeks quarantine at their own expense.
Mr Gunner confirmed that for at least the next year and a half these border controls will remain in place.
NO CLUES ON SOURCE OF CHERRYBROOK SCHOOL CLUSTER
Health authorities are scrambling to find the source of an emerging COVID-19 cluster at a school in Sydney's northwest that has infected at least 17 people.
The outbreak at Cherrybrook's Tangara School for Girls is the largest linked to a school in NSW.
Despite evidence early on in the pandemic showing schoolchildren were less likely to spread the disease, the state's chief health officer Kerry Chant said increased interaction and "extra-curricular activities" in older students posed a greater risk of transmission.
"An 18-year-old at school is more like an adult in terms of their characteristics and risks of transmission," she said.
NSW Health is investigating whether the disease was spread outside the classroom or in a "small group learning situation" because the infected students are from different year groups.
All students, staff and support staff must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested regardless of symptoms. Students of the primary school must monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop them.
Meanwhile, Batemans Bay High School on the south coast will be closed on Tuesday after a student tested positive to COVID-19.
A second student from Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta also tested positive for the virus. The school was closed yesterday after a positive case was reported on Sunday.
Bonnyrigg Heights Public School was also closed for deep cleaning on Monday after a student attended while infectious for three days from Tuesday, August 4.
The independent Education Union yesterday called for any teacher who wished to wear a mask to be "supported" by their employer.
There were 14 new coronavirus cases reported in NSW yesterday, with 11 linked to known clusters. There was one case identified with no known source.
"We're concerned that there may have been introductions into NSW, most likely from Victoria, where it set off chains of transmission that we're yet to recognise," Dr Chant said.
QUEENSLAND'S BIZARRE BORDER THREAT
Residents in northern NSW could be cut off from Queensland under a bizarre threat to further restrict border movements over outbreaks hundreds of kilometres away in Sydney.
Despite previous assurances people living in border towns would continue to be exempt from a ban on entering the state, Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young on Monday flagged measures could be tightened.
"Every single person who lives in any of those border communities … needs to think what will I do … if the border closes because there are cases spreading north from Sydney," she said.
HO HO HO COULD FALL VICTIM TO CO-CO-COVID, SAYS PM
Australians should prepare to celebrate Christmas 1.5m apart, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned some restrictions are likely to remain in place at the end of the year.
The prospect could stop thousands of Australians spending Christmas with relatives and loved ones interstate as the COVID-19 pandemic seems set to drag into 2021.
Hugs and handshakes are all but certain to remain on the naughty list, while handwashing and social distancing will be central to Yuletide cheer.
Mr Morrison said it was a quickly changing situation and it was important not to "get too far ahead on what might happen".
But he indicated medical evidence suggested that the virus would remain in play for some time to come yet.
"And if circumstances change and certainly if they change in the way we hoped they would, well, I would welcome it by Christmas, if it were possible,'' he said.
"But I think it's unlikely that we were able to move back to a restriction-free society. I doubt that is going to happen. I doubt the medical position will enable that.
"And so you've just got to follow the medical evidence on all of these, whether it's borders or whether it's the restrictions on trade or of local businesses.
"It's important that we just, you know, look and test, interrogate the medical evidence and make decisions based on that and nothing else and be transparent about it."
NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have all announced border restrictions in the wake of the pandemic.
The Morrison government has walked away from joining a High Court challenge about the border restrictions. But the PM said premiers needed to better explain their decisions and the advice they were acting on.
"It's for others to judge whether they're doing that sufficiently or not," he said.
He urged NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to work with ACT chief minister Andrew Barr after 100 Canberrans were stranded at the NSW/Victorian border because of a last-minute decision late at night to revoke their permission to drive through the state to get to the ACT.
"Well, these are one of the challenges of when borders are put in place between state jurisdictions,'' he said.
Originally published as Western Sydney primary school shuts, hospital staff test positive