Hundreds are urgently being told to isolate after being linked to a student nurse who worked at two Sydney hospitals while infectious with COVID-19.
A total of 400 people have been identified as close contacts of the case, causing staffing chaos at Sydney’s Royal North Shore and Fairfield hospitals.
The staggering number of people linked to the unvaccinated student nurse comes as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout Sydney despite the strict lockdown.
NSW reported 24 new locally acquired cases on Thursday, 17 of which are linked to previously confirmed cases.
There have now been 175 cases linked to the Bondi cluster, traced back to a limousine driver who transported an international flight crew.
The total number of cases reported since June 16 is now at 195.
Health authorities on Thursday night also confirmed a person who attended the mass vaccination hub in Sydney’s west has tested positive to COVID-19.
Anyone who visited the centre at Sydney Olympic Park on June 29 between 3.30-5pm is now considered a casual contact.
The centre has been thoroughly cleaned but hundreds have been seen queuing there in recent days as authorities pushed for more people to be vaccinated.
Testing is continuing for the large number of contacts with the 24-year-old student nurse who tested positive for the virus.
“The wards that that staff member worked at have been locked down,” Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
“NSW Health is contacting patients’ families who may have visited these wards and identified close contacts of this case to advise them of any action they need to take.”
One of the student nurse’s close contacts – who is an aged care worker – has now also tested positive for COVID-19.
Like the student nurse, the aged care worker also works at Royal North Shore Hospital, Fairfield Hospital and Royal Ryde Rehabilitation Hospital.
It is believed that worker had not worked while infectious.
“We are undertaking further investigations to understand the direction of transmission,” Dr Chant said.
“One of her household contacts is positive and then also a close friend … is also positive.”
NSW Health is investigating why the student nurse was not vaccinated.
Student nurses should be, regardless of age.
The state is currently the epicentre of Australia’s latest outbreak with 195 locally acquired cases reported since the beginning of the outbreak on June 16.
Overnight almost 60,000 NSW residents came forward to be tested.