Australia

NSW records four new coronavirus cases amid dip in testing rates

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: AAP

NSW has recorded four new COVID-19 cases, with three being returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one who acquired the disease locally.

NSW has recorded four new COVID-19 cases, with three being returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one that was locally acquired as health authorities strive for zero community transmission in the lead-up to school holidays.

There were 7765 tests undertaken in the 24-hour reporting period until 8pm on Sunday night, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Monday.

"Unfortunately we are seeing a dip in the number of tests," she said.

"Complacency is our biggest concern and we just want people to make sure that don't wait. If you feel the onset of the modest symptoms, please get tested.

"What has allowed us to conquer the spread of the virus to this point in time is high rates of testing and be on top of every single case. We know from the advice of experts disease is circulating, especially in western and south Sydney, and we need to make sure we keep testing rates high."

With border restrictions with Victoria eased and school holidays just days away, it was important to remain vigilant as "we're going into a bit of a high-risk period", Ms Berejiklian said.

Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said NSW was at a critical phase in the response to the pandemic.

"We are trying to identify any undetected chains of transmission in the community to drive it down towards no community transmission," she said.

"That will put us in the best position ahead of the school holidays where we know people will be out and about travelling across the state."

She said the good news about the locally acquired case was the person had already been isolating because they were a close contact of a case linked to the Concord Hospital cluster.

"Today's (locally acquired) case doesn't give me concern," Dr Chant said.

"We are actually hopeful that we're really mopping up any remnants of disease transmission.

"It can mean that we can be confident we're approaching no community transmission, which is our goal."

Meanwhile, NSW Health has issued a health warning to anyone who visited the Moorebank Sports Club at Hammondville in southwestern Sydney on the evening of Monday 14 September.

 

Authorities are working with the venue to identify people who may be close contacts. They will be told to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days even if they receive a negative result.

NSW Health is also attempting to contact anyone who took trips with a Silver Service taxi driver who tested positive on Saturday and worked in Sydney's west and southwest.

Anyone who rode in his taxi between 8 and 18 September should monitor for symptoms, isolate for 14 days and get tested for coronavirus.

Dr Chant said NSW Health had used a variety of mechanisms to identify a large number of people who rode with that driver but nine passengers remained anonymous.

She said some had hailed the taxi on the street but many had booked online or used a credit card and health authorities would now work with the taxi industry on the possibility of using additional technology such as the QR codes.

"We found the QR codes personally very effective and it may well be fit for purpose for Ubers and other taxis," Dr Chant said.

"I'd also like to just encourage people in taxis to heed our advice, which is sit in the back of the taxi, sit diagonally opposite the driver, and also to wear a mask when you're in a cab."

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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