Three new cases did not acquire virus on Mid North Coast; sewage detection in South Kempsey

Three new cases did not acquire virus locally; sewage detection in South Kempsey

TWO new positive COVID-19 cases detected on Saturday in South Kempsey are household contacts, while a third case was confirmed in Coffs Harbour.

Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) has confirmed all three cases have returned home after being outside the region, and have since tested positive for COVID-19.

The Kempsey cases did not acquire the virus in Kempsey and are not related to previous local cases.

The Coffs Harbour case also acquired their infection elsewhere.

All cases are now in isolation and being monitored by health staff.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is currently investigating these new cases and contact tracing is underway.

"We will provide more information as soon as it is available, including any potential exposure venues of public concern," Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said.

"It is important that we allow our Public Health team to do their job so we can provide the community with accurate information.

"We ask the community to please remain vigilant and continue to practise COVID-safe measures at all times."

Close and casual contacts are being notified and advised by NSW Health and at this stage, no venues of concern have been identified at Kempsey or Coffs Harbour.

NSW Health does not disclose details about venues unless there is a public health reason.

Mr Dowrick said when a confirmed COVID-19 case attends a venue while possibly infectious, NSW Health carries out a risk assessment on that venue to determine whether other people may have been exposed and whether there is a public health risk.

NSW Health's ongoing sewage surveillance program has also detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 in sewage samples taken from the South Kempsey sewage treatment plant on 16 September.

A full list of COVID-19 testing clinic locations and opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/clinics

There has also been virus fragments detected in the wastewater at further north at Ballina and Byron Bay.

Lismore returned to lockdown for seven days after a positive case was detected in the area. There has been onenew case in Northern NSW Local Health District reported to 8pm, in the Lismore area.

In the Hunter-New England, there were 13new cases to 8pm last night. This brings the total number of cases in the District to 434 since 5 August 2021. Nine cases are in Newcastle, three in Lake Macquarie and one in Maitland.

It comes on a day where 13 people lost their lives and cases numbers across the state dropped slightly to 1083 infections to 8pm Saturday (September 19).

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that as of Monday (September 20), all public pools across the state can re-open in a COVID-safe way, while across Greater Sydney's areas of concern, the rules for exercise, recreation and outdoor gatherings will be "equalised".

More than one in six NSW children aged 12 to 15 have now received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

"We've got weeks before we get to the 70 per cent double dose target. Now is not the time to kick back and think this is over," the Premier said.

"We have to accept that if we stay the course and stick to the rules, we will be able to really open up at 70 per cent in a safe way and all of us in NSW can move forward together.

"The best way to continue the path we're on is to follow the rules and get vaccinated."

The Premier said it is too soon to confirm if the state has hit the peak for COVID numbers, but the signs are encouraging.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said that after all the hard work getting vaccinated and complying with lockdown requirements, it's fantastic that some restrictions can now be relaxed.

"The NSW government is determined to ensure everyone can benefit from increasing vaccination rates. Outdoor pools are part of Australian life, and enjoying a Summer splash no matter where you live is a big plus for families."

For the latest information or to book a vaccination appointment visit nsw.gov.au/covid-19

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This story Three new cases did not acquire virus locally; sewage detection in South Kempsey first appeared on Port Macquarie News.