Health authorities in NSW say they are investigating the source of five mystery coronavirus infections uncovered yesterday.
- More than half of yesterday’s infections had an unknown source
- Tracing the origin of new cases is vital to controlling the virus
- There are now 3,042 confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW
The positive swabs were among nine new cases of the virus recorded in the state in the 24 hours to 8:00pm.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said officials knew the source of four of the new infections, which were acquired either overseas or from “close contacts”.
“Five are currently under investigation as to the source of the infection,” she said.
Dr Chant said one of the nine new confirmed cases attended a “healthcare facility” while infectious, but that all staff they had contact with had subsequently tested negative for the virus.
They were still isolating for 14 days, she said.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in NSW is 3,042.
Meanwhile, Dr Chant said there was no link between NSW’s two biggest coronavirus outbreaks, despite two healthcare workers who boarded the Ruby Princess cruise liner entering Anglicare’s Newmarch House aged care home two days later.
She rebuffed a suggestion the people, who work for healthcare provider Aspen Medical, should have isolated after going on the ship, which has been linked to more than 600 coronavirus cases and 21 deaths.
“If every time a healthcare worker who cared for a patient with COVID was required to take 14 days, we wouldn’t have healthcare workers to care for patients,” she said.
The NSW Government has previously said the Newmarch House outbreak was sparked after an employee there worked six shifts despite displaying mild coronavirus symptoms.
Yesterday, doubt was cast on that theory after it emerged a resident at the nursing home was having a blood test to see if they had been the “index case”.
Dr Chant said that second theory had since been abandoned and that the original worker remained the likely source of infection.
Ms Berejiklian said health authorities anticipated cases would increase as restrictions were eased across NSW in May.
“As there’s more activity, whether it’s at school, whether it’s dropping children off, whether it’s more retail, people visiting each other in their homes, we know that level of activity means there is likely to be more cases,” she said.
However Ms Berejiklian said she wanted to see “as many businesses as possible to reopen their doors and we want them to stay open”.
Australia’s worst-affected coronavirus state is yet to report a day with no new infections since the outbreak began.