States issue alerts over new virus cases

A public health alert in NSW has been updated, labelling patrons at two venues in the Illawarra region close contacts of a COVID-19 case who tested positive after hotel quarantine.

Anyone who was in the beer garden of the Headlands Hotel in Austinmer between 1pm and 3pm on February 2, or who dined in at the Bulli Beach Café between 1.30pm and 4pm on February 6, “is now considered a close contact and should immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result”, NSW Health said in an alert on Monday night.

Meanwhile, authorities in Victoria issued a warning just before midnight on Sunday, after a hotel quarantine worker at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport tested positive to COVID-19.

At the end of her shift on February 4, the woman returned a negative result.

She then returned to work on February 7 and later developed symptoms. A test revealed she had contracted COVID-19.

“The individual is being interviewed and a full public health response is underway,” Victoria’s Health Department said.

“We are contacting Holiday Inn Airport workers and others who are considered primary close contacts. They are required to immediately isolate, get tested and remain isolated for 14 days.”

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Health authorities are now scrambling to understand how the woman, who worked as an Authorised Officer, contracted the virus as she didn’t work on the floors housing hotel quarantine guests.

“An authorised officer doesn’t sit on the floors like our RSOs or our police do in

health hotels, but is responsible for issuing the detention notices to people when they arrive from internationally and coming into the hotel as well as if there are changes in their detention orders, or they’re being moved to a health hotel or being exited from the program,” Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Monday.

“That’s their key role is to provide the legal framework for the detention and also the exit.”

She said there appeared to be no breach of quarantine protocol that could have led to the infection, adding they will need to wait for genomic testing to gain a better understanding of how the transmission occurred.

“At this stage it doesn’t appear to be any breaches of infection prevention control procedures that are shown in their engagement with anyone who was entered or exited the hotel at any point,” Ms Neville said.

“She’s obviously been very cooperative as we saw at the Grand Hyatt worker, she’s also been wearing masks as required which is also, I think, an important protection for those who have attended particular exposure sites.”

Three new venues have been identified as possible exposure sites, with testing capacity near these venues to be scaled up.

Anyone who attended the following sites during the times below must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days.

Maidstone: Marciano’s Cakes on February 5 from 9.45am-10.25am

Sunshine: Dan Murphy’s on February 5 from 5.50pm-6.30pm and February 6 from 6.50pm-7.30pm

Taylors Lakes: Off Ya Tree Watergardens on February 6 from 1.17pm-1.52pm

This new COVID-19 case comes less than a week after a hotel quarantine worker at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne tested positive to COVID-19.

Victorian health authorities confirmed last week the person had contracted the highly-infectious UK variant of the virus.

A total of 1151 primary close contacts are now linked to this case and 72 per cent have returned negative test results.

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NSW Health has also issued alerts after a returned overseas traveller tested positive to coronavirus two days after being released from their 14 day hotel quarantine period.

The person is from the Wollongong area and returned two negative COVID-19 tests while in quarantine, before returning a positive result following their release.

“The person did not have any symptoms but underwent testing as part of the recently enhanced day-16 follow-up. As an additional precautionary measure, NSW Health has introduced symptom checking and day-16 COVID-19 tests for overseas travellers who have been released from hotel quarantine,” NSW Health said.

“Test results indicate that the person has a low level of infection and their household contacts have returned negative results to date.”

Authorities believe the person contracted the infection overseas, adding there was no indication at this stage that transmission occurred during the hotel quarantine setting.

Some close contacts of the case have already been identified and are in self-isolation.

Before the person was notified of their positive result, they attended several venues around Wollongong and southeastern Sydney.

Anyone who attended the following venues during these times must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result:

Austinmer: Headlands Hotel on February 2 from 1pm-3pm

Bulli: Bulli Beach cafe on February 6 from 1.30pm-4pm

Anyone who attended the following venues during these times is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is returned:

Austinmer: Headlands Hotel (in all areas other than the beer garden) on February 2 from 1pm-3pm

Bulli: Bulli Beach cafe (those who got takeaway) on February 6 from 1.30pm-4pm

Brighton Le Sands: Mootch & Me on February 2 from 10.54am-12pm

North Wollongong: Optus on February 4 from 1pm-1.15pm

Fairy Meadow: Officeworks on February 4 from 3.45pm-4.05pm and February 5 from 3pm-3.25pm

Anyone who attended the following venues during these times should monitor for symptoms:

Bulli: Woolworths on February 3 from 9.15am-10am

Corrimal: Corrimal Memorial Park on February 3 from 12pm-1pm

Thirroul: Thirroul Beach on February 3 from 3pm-4.30pm

Madden Plains: Sublime Point Walking Track on February 4 from 8.30am-10am

Figtree: Figtree Grove Shopping Centre (Australia Post, Kmart, Blooms the Chemist, Subway) on February 4 from 2pm-3.30pm

Fairy Meadow: Fedora Pasta Factory on February 5 from 3.30pm-3.35pm

Anyone with even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms is urged to come forward for testing immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

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