Sixth Sydney aged care resident tests COVID-positive as Gladys Berejiklian flags lockdown update

Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday there was "no doubt" the lockdown in Greater Sydney was having its desired effect, as the state recorded 18 new local cases and she flagged a lockdown update was imminent.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update in Sydney, Monday, July 5, 2021. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update in Sydney, Monday, July 5, 2021. Source: AAP

A sixth resident of a Sydney aged care facility has tested positive to COVID-19 after New South Wales recorded 18 new community coronavirus cases.

SummitCare confirmed the latest infection in a female resident at its Baulkham Hills facility on Tuesday afternoon, saying she was the wife of another resident who tested positive last week.

They were both fully vaccinated and had been transferred to Westmead Hospital after the husband's positive result.

"The resident, who until today was not positive, wanted to accompany her husband who tested positive on Saturday," a statement from SummitCare said on Tuesday.

"The latest case takes the total number of positive cases to six residents, all of whom are now off site and showing no symptoms of the virus at this stage."

The SummitCare aged care facility at Baulkham Hills in Sydney on Monday, 5 July, 2021.
Source: AAP

News of the latest case came hours after Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced there were 18 new local infections recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday, including a third staff member at the SummitCare facility.

Of the 18 cases, 11 were in isolation for their infectious periods, five were partially in isolation and two were infectious in the community.

Sixteen new infections were linked to a known case or cluster and of those, nine were household contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday there was "no doubt" the lockdown in Greater Sydney was having its desired effect.

“But it is still concerning that a number of cases are remaining infectious in the community for that period of time,” she told reporters.

18 locally acquired COVID-19 case in NSW

She said an update on whether the lockdown will be extended past Friday would come on Wednesday.

“We only intend for this lockdown to be the only lockdown we go through, and that will factor into our decision-making as to whether it finishes on Friday or whether we continue for a period longer,” she said.

There were 32,136 tests reported to 8pm on Monday, compared with the previous day’s total of 58,373.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said testing numbers need to undergo a “sustained increase.”

“I would like to see over 40,000 tests every day this week to give us the best assessment that we are not missing chains of transmission,” Dr Chant said.

Catholic school boys receive Pfizer vaccines 'in error'

Meanwhile, it's been revealed that 163 Year 12 boarders from Sydney's St Joseph's College received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in May, despite younger people not being eligible. 

The school issued a statement saying it approached Sydney Local Health District because a large number of the students are boarders, with some coming from rural communities - including remote Indigenous communities.

Sydney Local Health District chief executive Dr Teresa Anderson on Tuesday evening said only Indigenous students - who are eligible - were supposed to be vaccinated, and apologised for the "error". 

"It was agreed that the Aboriginal students would be vaccinated through the state health system at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's vaccination hub," she said in a statement. 

"Through an error, the wider group of boarders in Year 12, a total of 163 students, were also vaccinated. 

"Sydney Local Health District apologises for this error."

All Indigenous people aged 16 to 49 are eligible for vaccination as they have a higher risk of acquiring, and developing severe disease from, COVID-19. 

There are now nine cases of COVID-19 associated with the SummitCare aged care facility - six residents and three workers.

Dr Chant said the latest worker to test positive had not been exposed to more residents. However, a small number of staff have been placed into isolation.

An outreach team from NSW Health was on-site Tuesday morning to vaccinate residents who were yet to receive a jab.

There is also one new infection linked to a gathering at the Meriton Suites Waterloo on 26 June.

The gathering, which took place while stay-at-home orders were in place, has now seen seven attendees infected.

The individuals have not yet been fined for breaching lockdown rules - something Ms Berejiklian has defended.

“Do not underestimate the personal emotion and stress you go through when you intentionally do something wrong and the impact it has, and let that be a deterrent,” she said.

“It is a horrible experience to go through to know that your actions have caused others to be in enormous grief and stress.”

Published 6 July 2021 at 5:45am, updated 6 July 2021 at 7:54pm
By Naveen Razik, Jodie Stephens