NSW Health authorities are racing to contain a COVID-19 cluster that has spread from a gym in Sydney’s CBD to suburbs in the city’s north, west and as far as the Central Coast.
Eight of the 14 new cases detected in NSW in the last 24-hour reporting period are linked to the Sydney CBD cluster that is believed to have stemmed from the gym at the City Tattersalls Club on Pitt Street.
The new cases take the cluster’s total to 23, with health authorities warning the cluster is likely to grow.
Of the eight new cluster cases, three attended the City Tattersalls Club, three are known contacts of previously reported cases and two are household contacts of previously reported cases, NSW Health spokeswoman Dr Christine Selvey said.
Further investigations found one of the mystery cases reported on Friday is linked to the Sydney CBD cluster.
“NSW Health is investigating whether the cluster originated in the City Tattersalls Club and then spread to workplaces in the city and to households across Sydney and the Central Coast,” Dr Selvey said.
Genomic sequencing of the virus shows the Sydney CBD cluster is linked to other clusters in NSW and genetically different to that of the virus detected in a traveller and two security guards at the Marriott Hotel, Dr Selvey said.
All identified close contacts of the Sydney CBD cases have been contacted and told to self-isolate for 14 days to get a test and then have another test if any symptoms develop. They must stay isolated for the full 14 days even if they get a negative result.
Dr Selvey urged anyone who attended the City Tattersalls Club between August 4 and 18 to get a test for COVID-19 and self-isolate until they return a negative result.
On Saturday evening, NSW Health said it was investigating further new cases linked to the centre. The new cases, who were exposed to COVID-19 at the gym, attended the centre in the past few days but didn’t know they were infectious.
NSW Health has been asked to clarify the exact number of new cases.
Anyone who attended the centre on the following dates and times is considered a close contact. They must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days since their last visit.
- Wednesday, August 19, between 8am and 2pm
- Friday, August 21, between 8am and 2pm, including: aqua aerobics from 10am and 10.45am; stretch class from 11am and 11.50am; pump class from 12.15pm and 1pm
- Sunday, August 23, between 8am and 2pm
- Monday, August 24, between 8am and 2pm
- Tuesday, August 25, between 8am and 2pm
Members who attended the gym on the above dates but not during the listed times should be on the alert for symptoms, get tested and self-isolate if symptoms do develop.
The new COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday visited several locations in Mosman, St Ives and Rosebery while potentially infectious.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the following times must monitor for symptoms, get tested immediately if they develop and stay isolated until a negative test result is received:
- Archie Bear cafe, Mosman Rowers on Monday, August 24, between 11am and 12 noon and Tuesday, August 25, between 9am and 9.30am
- Rosebery Post Shop, 371 Gardeners Road, Rosebery, on Wednesday, August 26, between 1.30pm and 1.40pm
- St Ives Shopping Centre, 166 Mona Vale Road, St Ives on Monday, August 24, between 2.30pm and 3.30pm
Three of the 14 new cases reported on Saturday were locally acquired with no known source, two are household contacts of previously reported cases linked to Liverpool Hospital and one is in a traveller in hotel quarantine.
NSW Health is treating 67 COVID-19 cases, including six in intensive care, four of whom are on ventilators. Roughly 85 per cent of cases being treated by NSW Health are in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.
On Friday night, NSW Health issued a stern warning that people living and working in greater Sydney or the Central Coast should stay away from aged care facilities for 14 days as they brace for double-digit daily case increases for several days to come.
“This is a precaution while the cluster is being investigated and cases are being identified and isolated and contact tracing is being done,” Dr Selvey said.
The move means families may not be able to visit their elderly fathers in nursing homes on Fathers Day next weekend.
NSW Health is expected to provide an update to this advice next week.
On Friday, NSW Health data revealed half of those who have tested positive took three days to self-isolate.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned people who delayed getting tested and self-isolating despite having coronavirus symptoms were dramatically raising the risk of infecting loved ones and the community.
There were 24,632 tests carried out in the last 24-hour reporting period – down from 30,282 tests the previous day.
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Kate Aubusson is Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Laura is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.