22 December 2020

NSW recorded eight locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, and an additional 10 cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Seven of the locally acquired cases are linked to the Avalon cluster and one remains under investigation.

Investigations continue into the source of the Avalon cluster, which now numbers 90. Two more cases are residents of the northern area of the Northern Beaches.

The total number of cases in NSW is 4,600 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were a record 44,466 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with 38,578 in the previous 24 hours, which was also a record.

NSW Health thanks the community for their excellent response in coming forward for testing and following public health advice. We urge people to continue to get tested as soon as even the mildest symptoms appear, as this is vital to helping us to contain the virus by stopping community transmission.

CasesCount
Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 4,600
Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 55
Total tests carried out 3,775,791

Of the 18 new cases to 8pm last night:

  • Eight cases are locally acquired, and of these
    • Seven cases are linked to the Avalon cluster
    • One case remains under investigation
  • Ten cases were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine.

The case under investigation is a healthcare worker from western Sydney who is involved in the transfer of patients.

This case was involved in transporting several patients between hospitals, homes and care facilities. Those patients and other contacts are being urgently contacted, instructed to isolate and tested. Investigations into the source of the case are ongoing.

An additional case linked to this healthcare professional has been identified since 8pm last night and will be included in tomorrow’s numbers.

A Victorian resident who had been holidaying in the Northern Beaches has also tested positive. This case, which is not included in the NSW numbers, presented for testing in Victoria on 20 December and the positive result was received on 21 December. They have been isolating since their return to Victoria. The family members of this case in Sydney are all in isolation and have tested negative to date.

NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s Upper North Shore to come forward for testing if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms, after the state’s sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus at a treatment plant in Hornsby Heights.

Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in samples taken on Saturday December 19 from the sewerage system that drains parts of Berowra, Cowan, Berowra Heights, Hornsby Heights, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-Gai, Asquith and Hornsby.

NSW Health is aware of two recent COVID-19 positive cases in the area which are linked to the Avalon cluster, but as a precaution we continue to ask the community to be alert and present for testing.

COVID-19 cases linked to the Avalon cluster have visited many locations across Sydney. A full list of locations and public transport routes, and the associated public health advice, is available from the NSW Government website.

NSW Health is treating 93 COVID-19 cases, none of whom are in intensive care. Most cases (97 per cent) are being treated in non-acute, out-of-hospital care, including returned travellers in the Special Health Accommodation.

Due to the risk to the people of NSW from the Avalon cluster, restrictions remain in place across Greater Sydney to reduce the risk of further community transmission. These include:

  • Household gatherings are limited to 10 visitors until 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 December.
  • The one person per four square metre rule has been re-introduced for all indoor settings, including hospitality venues and places of worship.
  • A cap of 300 people applies for hospitality venues and places of worship.
  • Singing in indoor venues is now restricted, returning to a maximum of five performers indoors, provided they are 1.5m from one another and at least 5m from the audience. Audience members are not allowed to sing along.
  • Dancefloors are not be permitted, except for weddings, when a maximum of 20 from the wedding party will be permitted to dance.

For the purposes of the Public Health Order, ‘Greater Sydney’ comprises the following local government areas: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Woollahra.

People are also advised to wear masks in indoor settings, and are also urged not to visit residential aged care facilities, disability services or vulnerable people unless it is critical. This advice will be re-assessed tomorrow, Wednesday 23 December.

‘Stay at home’ orders in place for residents of the Northern Beaches local government area (LGA) will also continue until 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 December. Further clear advice will be provided to the community before Christmas.

All residents of the Northern Beaches LGA are required to stay at home, unless permitted to leave for certain reasons, under the Public Health Order issued on Saturday 19 December.

Anyone in NSW with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, is asked to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

Likely source of confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW

Likely source of infectionCases past 24 hours*Cases past 7 days**All cases
Overseas 10412,546
Interstate 0090
Locally acquired – linked to known case or cluster 7901,527
Locally acquired – no links to known case or cluster01434
Locally acquired – investigation ongoing 133
Under initial investigation000
Total181354,600

Note: Case counts reported for a particular day may vary over time due to ongoing investigations and case review.

*notified from 8pm 20 December 2020 to 8pm 21 December 2020
**from 8pm 15 December 2020 to 8pm 21 December 2020

Returned travellers in hotel quarantine to date

Since 29 March 2020Count
Symptomatic travellers tested 8,122
Found positive 168
Since 30 June 2020Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 260,370
Found positive365
Since 15 May 2020
Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 1072,710
Found positive164

Today’s press conference will be uploaded to our website.

Current as at: Tuesday 22 December 2020