05 March 2020

NSW Health is working with hospital staff, patients, an aged-care facility and a childcare centre to ensure anyone exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 is closely monitored, and has access to expert advice and care.

The number of confirmed cases rose to 22 overnight, including four linked to an aged care facility. NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said public health staff are investigating the source of the infections which so far have not been established.

“Two doctors, a 27 year old female from Liverpool Hospital and a 53 year old male from Ryde Hospital attended the same medical conference on February 18 at Liverpool Hospital, and we are following up with all 77 attendees to check their health. At this point no other cases have been identified among the attendees,” Dr Chant said.

At Liverpool Hospital, 23 staff and five patients have been identified as potential close contacts of the female doctor and will be advised whether they require isolation.

“I want to reassure the public that we have several mitigation strategies in place to backfill any absent staff with other health workers to ensure continuity of service in our hospitals.”

At Ryde Hospital, 61 staff have been placed in self isolation and 56 patients have been identified as close or casual contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

As a precaution, staff and children at a Macquarie Park childcare centre are being assessed after it was established that they visited elderly residents at the nearby aged care facility where four cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed. Approximately 17 children and four staff have been offered assessment.

A 95 year old resident at a Macquarie Park aged-care facility died on Tuesday, while an 82 year old male resident and 78 year old female are in hospital, as well as a 51 year old female nurse. The source of infection is under investigation as none had recently travelled overseas.

“We are testing a further seven residents at the facility and two staff and I want to assure these people if they require hospitalisation we will transfer them immediately.”

Overnight NSW Health was also made aware of another confirmed case, a 53 year old man from southern Sydney, who is a returned traveller from Italy. Further information including flight details are being obtained.

A northern beaches woman, aged 36, is a returned traveller from Iran, who arrived in Sydney on 24 February 2020 on Emirates flight EK416 from Dubai and has been admitted to Northern Beaches Hospital.

A 60 year old female returned arrived to Sydney on 3 March 2020 on Cebu Pacific flight 5J39 from the Philippines.

Of the 22 cases confirmed since the outbreak began, four have been cleared of the virus and discharged from hospital.​​​​