NSW reports 31 new local COVID-19 cases

NSW has recorded 31 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 13 of those people were active in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

“This pretty much reflects the days just before, and the day when we went into lockdown,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday. 

“We are anticipating there could be an increase in numbers over the next few days, then hopefully early next week we should see the impact of the lockdown really turning and having a positive impact.”

They are a healthcare worker at the RNS, Fairfield and Royal Ryde Rehabilitation hospitals and an aged care worker at SummitCare in Baulkham Hills.

Their diagnoses – flagged on Thurdsay – have sparked fears of an outbreak within the healthcare system, with hundreds of people sent into isolation and at least two hospital wards and a nursing home in lockdown.

The 24-year-old student nurse worked up to five days while infectious, but the other healthcare workers are not believed to have worked during the infectious period.

Almost all of the 149 residents at the Baulkham Hills facility are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the home is now in lockdown after being deep-cleaned.

The new case numbers take the tally to 226 since the current outbreak began on June 16.

More warnings have been issued for potential exposure sites, including the T2 domestic terminal at Sydney Airport, the Des Renford Swimming Pool at Maroubra in Sydney’s east and Club Marconi at Bossley Park in the west.

The dates of concern are June 25 and June 26.

Meanwhile, pharmacies are pleading to be more involved in the vaccine rollout, after Ms Berejiklian announced on Thursday that they’d be enlisted to distribute vaccines.

A trial involving 22 pharmacies in regional NSW administering AstraZeneca from mid-July is not enough, says the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

The limited trial “still misses the mark”, says PSA NSW Branch President Chelsea Felkai.

She called for the full pharmacist workforce to be deployed to get as many vaccines in arms as possible.

“We desperately need a patient-centric approach that puts the community first, but it is apparent that the NSW Government’s approach to the rollout does not support this,” Ms Felkai said.

NSW plans to set up new mass COVID-19 vaccination hubs at Macquarie Fields in Sydney’s southwest, Wollongong and the Sydney CBD.

It’s hoped the hubs will boost the number of jabs administered in NSW to 200,000 a week and enable authorities to dramatically ramp up vaccinations once the government’s supply of Pfizer vaccine increases.

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