BY JARROD MELMETH
The Hunter has recorded just one case of COVID-19 bringing the regions outbreak to 164 since August 5.
The new case is in Jesmond and is linked to the Jesmond Grove aged care facility. The person was not infectious in the community.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant says she is pleased to see the numbers in the Hunter remaining stable and is urging residents to stay the course.
While the numbers are remaining stable, Deputy Premier John Barilaro hinted on Monday that it was unlikely the Hunter would come out of lockdown at weeks end as there are concerns about the Costco Boolaroo COVID exposure site.
To date, over 700 people have been identified as close or casual contacts, while the number of cases has grown to six, which includes some who reside in Sydney. Hunter New England Health says there is a strong likelihood of more cases.
Hunter New England Health is urging anyone who attended the Costco fuel station and the external membership office from Monday 16 – Friday 20 August at any time to get tested for COVID-19 immediately. This request is also asking any casual contacts who have been identified to have an additional test.
Public Health Physician Dr David Durrheim says the Costco site has caused health authorities a lot of trouble over the weekend.
“This is clearly a high transmission setting, a cool indoor environment that was crowded and unfortunately with multiple people from Greater Sydney.
“One of the people who came up from south east Sydney area brought the virus with them and this is really a disturbing and worrying trend where we get introductions from Sydney despite every effort the local community, local community leaders, the public health team and police are making to keep the virus away.
“We are getting repeated introductions from Sydney, this needs to stop. We need to take action to make sure that no one travels up the M1 and we use local employees for our businesses and employment,” Dr Durrheim said.
Just one new exposure site was added overnight at East Maitland. Anyone who attended Your Discount Chemist at East Maitland on Thursday 12 August between 4:37pm – 5pm or Friday 13 August between 11:09am – 11:11am is considered a casual contact and must get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
For the full list of dates and times for any of the venues of concern, head to the NSW Health website.