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Sydney nurse at St Vincent's Hospital tests positive for coronavirus, NSW Health says contact tracing underway

ABC Health logo ABC Health 9/10/2020
a close up of Gladys Berejiklian in a blue shirt: Gladys Berejiklian said NSW residents should feel "proud" of how the state has controlled the virus. (ABC News: James Carmody) © Provided by ABC Health Gladys Berejiklian said NSW residents should feel "proud" of how the state has controlled the virus. (ABC News: James Carmody)

NSW health authorities have issued a public health alert after a nurse at a Sydney hospital tested positive to coronavirus.

The casual nurse worked a single shift at St Vincent's Hospital on October 7 while infectious and provided specialised care to a single patient.

The case will be reported in Saturday's numbers.

In a statement, NSW Health said the nurse also had "limited contact with a very small number of colleagues".

"Contact tracing is underway and the source of the infection is under investigation, though it is believed the source of infection occurred outside the hospital," the statement said.

The new case comes as NSW recorded five new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Friday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was still intent on easing some restrictions despite the new cases.

The five cases are all linked to known clusters.

Four of the new cases have been linked to a private health clinic cluster, with three being household contacts of a case reported yesterday and one a co-worker from another clinic of the same provider.

NSW Health said the fifth new local infection was most likely an old case acquired in August and can be linked to the Liverpool Hospital cluster.

Five returned travellers in hotel quarantine also returned positive results.

There were 12,868 people tested across the state yesterday.

Ms Berejiklian said she was still looking at what social distancing restrictions could be eased in her state, despite a resurgence in locally acquired infections this week.

"The advice we get from health is always evolving depending on where we are in the pandemic," she said.

"I'm always concerned when we have new cases of community transmission, [but] it shouldn't preclude us looking at what opportunities we have in the next few weeks."

Ms Berejiklian said her Government was getting advice from health experts and economists.

"We haven't ruled out any further easing of restrictions," she said.

"We are considering what will happen in the next few days and beyond."

Health authorities also issued a public health alert for locations visited by a positive case on October 5:

  • Palm Beach Fish and Chips on October 6, from 3.45pm to 4.00pm
  • S-mart Eastwood on October 5, from 7.30pm to 7.45pm
  • Aldi Eastwood on October 6, from 11.00am to 12.00pm
  • Westfield Parramatta on October 6, from 12.00pm to 12.15pm
  • Westfield Parramatta on October 7, from 12.00pm to 12.30pm and 4.30pm to 5.00pm

NSW Health said anyone at these locations is considered a casual contact and should monitor for symptoms and get tested as soon as any appear.

Meanwhile, the border stoush between NSW and Queensland appeared to have a hit a new low with the Queensland Health Minister accusing NSW of "giving up" on achieving 28 days of no community transmission.

Ms Berejiklian described the comment as "really offensive" and said her Government had developed a "world class" strategy to deal with the pandemic.

"Look anywhere around the world, where we have a population the size of New South Wales, where we have the open economy that we do and the way that we're dealing with the virus," she said.

"I think all of us here can feel proud of what we've achieved."

In response to the ongoing Queensland and WA border closures, Ms Berejiklian said it would be "really easy" for her to turn away travellers from other states for hotel quarantine.

"At least 40 per cent of people who come to Sydney are in hotel quarantine from other states," she said.

"Look at what we are burdening in NSW, look at the GST contribution you get from us… and just move a little bit."

Since yesterday NSW health authorities have also found a new infection on board a ship that travelled from Brisbane to Newcastle with international mariners onboard.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said 14 crew members were swabbed yesterday and one tested positive for COVID-19.

"It was initially thought that that test result was reflecting an old infection but further testing has had to be underway because the test results are still inconclusive," she said.

Dr Chant said the boat did not pose a risk to the community and would remain docked in Newcastle while further testing was completed.

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