Authorities in the regional Australian city of Goulburn are confident they will contain any outbreak of the CCP virus stemming from the essential worker who tested positive on July 13, after it was revealed he did not venture out into the Goulburn community.
General manager of the Goulburn Shire Council, Warwick Bennett, told the Goulburn Post that the man, who is a contract painter from Fairfield, did not circulate in the community and was only working while infectious on July 9. He has been in isolation since July 10.
Fairfield is one of the worst-hit areas in the Sydney outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
According to Bennett, the man had travelled in a car from Sydney to Goulburn and returned with three other men, who were also painters working on a $150 million redevelopment of the Goulburn Hospital.
“He was pretty well working on his own in a section of the hospital,” he said. “He never went anywhere in Goulburn, and to our knowledge, he never left the hospital. That’s what he’s told health authorities. We are very hopeful he didn’t have close contact with other contractors on the site.”
The man’s three travelling companions have all returned negative COVID-19 tests at this time.
However, the man’s case has raised the issue of essential workers from COVID hotspots travelling to the regions.
Goulburn Mayor Bob Kirk questioned how a painter was an essentials worker.
“How is a painter an essential worker who qualifies for an exemption (to travel from southwest Sydney to the region?” Kirk said. “If this was needed so badly, surely we could have found a local. I don’t accept that just because he’s working on the hospital, there’s a need to travel outside those hotspots…Obviously, the definition is too loose.”
The Goulburn Council raised its concerns with the NSW government on July 13, which resulted in the Berejiklian government issuing a public health order (pdf) that all workers from the areas of Greater Sydney who are working outside of the affected area must now take part in surveillance testing three times a week.
The Southern NSW Local Health District reported late on July 13 that the hospital was now open and operating unaffected. It also noted that and that no other exposure sites in Goulburn had been identified.