Aged care homes in Sydney and on the NSW Central Coast will be closed to visitors for two weeks as a precaution to prevent COVID-19 threatening vulnerable residents.
An alert issued by NSW Health says the current COVID-19 cluster in Sydney’s CBD involves people who travelled from multiple areas in the metropolitan and Central Coast areas.
“As a precaution NSW Health is extending existing visitor restrictions by strongly advising people who live or work in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area and Central Coast to refrain from visiting aged care facilities until 12 September,” it said.
It requested all staff wear masks while working.
“There is currently no evidence of any cases in aged care residents or staff in aged care facilities in NSW. These are precautionary steps to prevent the entry of COVID-19 into this vulnerable setting,” the statement said.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the growing cluster linked to a Sydney CBD gym was proof how quickly virus outbreaks can spiral out of control.
Chant on Aug 28 announced six new cases linked to the cluster associated with the gym at the City Tattersalls Club, which now numbers 14.
The infections have also caused the shutdown of a number of other venues across the city.
“It highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread in the sense we have a seeding event, its amplification and then that has seeded other workplaces and lead to exposure in the community to a number of venues that we have announced,” Chant said.
Also of concern is that almost half the Sydney-based COVID-19 patients did not seek testing until at least three days after symptoms developed.
All NSW residents should be seeking testing as soon as possible if they feel ill, she says.
Anyone who attended the City Tattersalls gym between 8am and 2pm on August 19, 21, 23 or 24 should also get tested and isolate at home for 14 days.
Across the state, 13 new infections were recorded and another four Sydney schools shut on Friday. Only one of the new cases was a returned overseas traveller, with the rest locally acquired.
Maureen Dettre in Sydney