Massive drop in NSW coronavirus infections continues

Sydney 2000

New South Wales has recorded two more coronavirus deaths, bringing the state’s total to 26, as the number of new cases continues to decline.

Key points:

  • Two more passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise have died
  • Sixty-six crew members have now tested positive
  • Only nine new COVID-19 infections were recorded in NSW in the past 24 hours

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a 74-year-old woman died in John Hunter Hospital, while a 79-year-old man died in the Northern Beaches Hospital.

Both were passengers on the infamous Ruby Princess cruise ship and contracted the virus while on board.

In the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Sunday, the state recorded only nine new COVID-19 cases, despite more than 2,600 people being tested.

The total number of confirmed infections in NSW is now 2,863.

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The single-figure increase came after seven new infections were recorded the previous day, although only about 800 people were tested then.

“The fact that we had nine new cases clearly indicates that we are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot more to do,” Mr Hazzard said.

“No one should think that we can slacken off in the efforts that we’re trying to undertake at the moment.”

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It has also been revealed 66 Ruby Princess crew members have now tested positive to the virus.

Dr Christine Selvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases, said some of those employees were close to recovery, though, as infections were spread across several weeks.

She rejected calls for all crew members to be tested as test kits only returned a positive result when someone had symptoms, not during the incubation period.

Mr Hazzard said it was still unclear who “patient zero” on the ship was almost a month after it docked at Circular Quay in Sydney.

“I think the jury is well and truly out on that, in the sense of who brought it onto the ship,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Mr Hazzard warned aged-care workers to stay home if they were unwell after a nurse at a facility in Western Sydney went in for six days despite having coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Hazzard said the woman, who worked at the Anglicare Newmarch House in Caddens and eventually tested positive, put vulnerable people at risk.

One resident has since tested positive and another is waiting for test results.

“We have talked about this numerous times but now it appears that some staff are still going to work, even when they have symptoms,” he said.

“Please don’t go to work if you’re feeling sick. Just don’t go.”

In a statement, Anglicare said all residents were now self-isolating in their rooms and any staff who had close contact with the infected people were self-isolating at home.

Anglicare said it had deployed staff specially trained in working with COVID-19 to work with the resident who tested positive.

It said all other staff had been directed to wear full personal protective equipment when caring for residents.

NSW Health has also identified several new areas where more testing should be conducted due to community transmission, including Penrith, Liverpool, Westmead, Blacktown, Cumberland, Randwick and Ryde.

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