17 March 2021

NSW recorded one new locally acquired case of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

This case is a returned traveller who was in quarantine in the Sofitel Wentworth hotel on the same floor as the security guard who was reported on Sunday and another returned traveller in quarantine who previously tested positive. Genomic sequencing links all three cases.

Six new cases were acquired overseas, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 5,059. One previously reported case has been excluded following further investigation.

There were 14,255 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 6,257.

Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 5,059
Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 56
Total tests carried out 5,202,124

The latest case tested positive yesterday during additional follow-up testing carried out as part of NSW Health’s extensive investigations into the source and nature of the transmission to the security guard.

The new case was on the same floor as the previously reported case in the returned traveller and on which the security guard worked. All other returned travellers on the same floor have tested negative to date.

Genome sequencing results indicate this latest case matches the strain found in the other hotel quarantine guest and the security guard. This strain is the more transmissible B1.1.7 variant of the virus.

Investigations into the nature of the transmission continue, but NSW Health can confirm that there is no shared air-conditioning between the rooms, which all have their own units. The units also do not connect to the corridor.

NSW Health on Sunday reported the case in the security guard, who had worked in the hotel on 6 and 7 March, following routine surveillance testing.

It is believed the security guard was likely infected by the first guest, who arrived at the hotel on 5 March.

All three positive cases are now being cared for in the Special Health Accommodation and all those who were staying or working on the same floor of the hotel during the exposure periods remain in quarantine.

Close contacts of the security guard, including their household contacts, have all tested negative to date and will continue to self-isolate for 14 days.

Testing of staff at both quarantine hotels where the security guard worked has also not identified any additional cases.

A full list of the exposure venues associated with the case announced on Sunday can be viewed on the NSW Government website.

These cases underscore the need for continued community vigilance for any signs and symptoms that could be COVID-19. It is critical that everyone continues to practise COVID-safe behaviours and seek testing with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms.

The NSW Government has announced that, as of 12:01am this morning, drinking while standing up at indoor venues, pubs and clubs across NSW is now allowed.

Under Public Health Orders, all pubs, clubs, small bars, cellar doors, breweries, distilleries, karaoke bars and casinos in NSW must complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

From 12.01am tomorrow, arrivals from Auckland will no longer need to have a test within 72 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they get their result. Routine on-arrival health screening will continue.

All travellers arriving from New Zealand on a flight that is carrying only people who have not been in a country other than New Zealand and Australia in the previous 14 days (a “green flight”), must still provide their contact details.

This is for contact tracing and to ensure they have not been outside of Australia or New Zealand. Provided they are well, they are not required to go into self-isolation or into a quarantine hotel.

NSW Health is treating 51 COVID-19 cases. There is one patient with COVID-19 currently in ICU, although this person’s admission is unrelated to the virus. Most cases (90 per cent) are being treated in non-acute, out-of-hospital care, including returned travellers in the Special Health Accommodation.

There are more than 350 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic, visit COVID-19 clinics or contact your GP.

Likely source of confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW

Likely source of infection
Cases past 24 hours*Cases past 7 days**All cases
Overseas 6262,880
Interstate 0090
Locally acquired – linked to known case or cluster 111,642
Locally acquired – no links to known case or cluster00446
Locally acquired – investigation ongoing 011
Under initial investigation000

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

*notified from 8pm 15 March 2021 to 8pm 16 March 2021
**from 10 March 2021 to 8pm 16 March 2021

Returned travellers in hotel quarantine to date

Since 29 March 2020Count
Symptomatic travellers tested 10,877
Found positive 212
Since 30 June 2020Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 2 84,518
Found positive532
From 15 May 2020 to 12 January 2021Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 1079,623
Found positive182
Since 13 January 2021Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 12*
Found positive

* Testing previously carried out on day 10 is now carried out on day 12.

Watch today’s video update with Dr Jeremy McAnulty


Video update - 17 March 2021