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Residents, staff contract COVID-19 after infected aged-care worker kept working

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was important not to cast blame before the facts involving Newmarch House had been established.

“Obviously it’s of huge concern and very disappointing if someone who has the disease keeps working,” she said. “We can’t cast blame automatically, let’s wait for the facts. What if the person did not know that they had it. That’s a concern.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday.Credit:Nick Moir

Ms Berejiklian said the number of cases in NSW continue to drop, but stressed that testing numbers had been lower over Easter and there was still a concern around community transmission.

There were seven new cases of coronavirus in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday, taking the total to 2870. There were no new deaths.

Ms Berejiklian also announced that people who test negative to COVID-19 will now receive their results within hours via text message, allowing people out of self-isolation earlier. Patients who registered for the service would receive “an automated SMS test result within six hours of the completion of the laboratory test”, which is likely to be the same day the test is conducted.

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Ms Berejiklian indicated that there are unlikely to be changes to school arrangements for NSW students in the first couple of weeks of term two, with students to continue home schooling. But she said it was likely that policies around schools would be one of the first restrictions to be relaxed.

The national cabinet will consider school closures when it meets on Thursday.

A senior NSW government source has told the Herald that a range of measures were being considered, including a staggered return for students from different year groups.

Ms Berejiklian also revealed that NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told her that the police investigation into the Ruby Princess debacle would take at least another five months because of the large number of calls to Crime Stoppers and the evidence that has been collected.

She said the police investigation was “extremely robust” but she was seeking legal advice as to whether the investigation would be able to publicly release all the information. Ms Berejiklian said the state government would consider a commission of inquiry if it was clear that the results of the investigation could not be be released.

Mr Fuller said there were 55 fines handed out overnight to people flouting the public health orders but said there had been “high levels of compliance” in the state.

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