Five new NSW cases amid low testing haul

NSW has recorded five new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 including the previously-reported cases of a man who attended Mount Druitt Hospital while sick and his partner.

The five cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday came from fewer than 14,700 tests, which Premier Gladys Berejiklian said was insufficient.

Of the five, two cases – known to each other – were situated on Sydney’s northern beaches, and one directly linked to the 27-person Berala cluster.

The final two cases were in a man in his 40s who presented at Mount Druitt Hospital on Saturday with respiratory illness, prompting the emergency department’s closure for deep cleaning, and his partner. The source of the pair’s infection remains undetermined.

Eleven cases were recorded in travellers in hotel quarantine.

Anyone with the mildest of symptoms, such as a scratchy throat or runny nose, should get tested immediately, NSW Health says.

“We really need to have higher testing levels if we are to combat the rumblings that are still going on and we know that it takes some time to completely get to the target of zero community transmission after there has been an outbreak … it’s so critical,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

It comes after more coronavirus-affected venues in western Sydney and the northern beaches were identified by authorities on Monday evening.

Health authorities issued a close-contact alert for those who had lunch at Blacktown Workers Sports Club’s Grange buffet restaurant on Sunday January 3 and Sunday January 10.

The club closed as a precaution on Monday afternoon while it conducted a precautionary deep clean, club chief executive Morgan Stewart said in a statement.

NSW Health has also established a pop-up testing facility nearby.

“All persons who attended the venue have registered their visit via the Service NSW QR Code check-in procedure as well as our digital sign-in system,” he said.

“We will reopen later this week once cleared by NSW Health.”

Further alerts were issued for shoppers in Warriewood Square on the northern beaches for several dates and times between December 31 and January 8.

A pool shop in Brookvale, a Warriewood pharmacy, a post office in Hurlstone Park and a patisserie in Ashfield have also been added to the lengthy list of Sydney hotspots.

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