Of the local cases with known sources, one is linked to a previously reported case in south-eastern Sydney whose source is still under investigation and three are linked to the August CBD cluster, which is now at 52 cases.
A close contact of a case at St Paul’s Catholic College Greystanes and a close contact of the Girraween Public School case have tested positive, bringing the size of that outbreak across the two schools to 12.
There have been 3902 coronavirus cases in NSW since the start of the pandemic.
Ms Berejiklian said she raised with her Queensland counterpart concerns that healthcare workers should be able to travel more freely across the border, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk indicated she would put this to Steven Miles, the Queensland Health Minister and Deputy Premier.
“I hope she will respond positively to that,” Ms Berejiklian said, adding that she did not get the sense Queensland would relax its border measures anytime soon.
“My job is to make sure I protect the health and wellbeing of our citizens. That is not happening to the extent I would like it to, and that’s a concern.
“I worry when some towns are not getting doctors for weeks on end or at all because the Queensland government won’t acknowledge that when they return to Queensland they should not have to serve that quarantine [period] when they are providing vital health services,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said the guideline set by the Queensland government as to when it would reopen their border was “a pretty tall order”.
“I don’t know anywhere on the planet where a society can function openly and productively during a pandemic and give an assurance that you are going to have zero cases of community transmission for a prolonged period,” she said.
The national cabinet is next due to meet on Friday. Its discussion concerning border measures will be “very sobering”, Ms Berejiklian said.
She urged her counterparts to trust in their health systems.
“If you have confidence in your health system, if you have confidence that contact tracing is something you can deal with in your state there shouldn’t be a reason for you to keep your border closed given the low rates of community transmission currently in NSW,” she said.
“Everyone wants certainty, everyone wants to be able to plan ahead whether it’s businesses or reuniting with family,” she said, qualifying that she did not include Victoria in that same situation given their current transmission rates.
Asked about end of year school events, Ms Berejiklian said the government’s intention was to provide a COVID-safe way for schools to hold those events.
“The health advice regarding term 3 was based purely on the fact that we don’t want students stressing about their exams being cancelled or their schools shutting down in close proximity to the HSC. The more certainty we can give our students the less stress there’ll be,” she said.
The health advice will be updated for term 4, the Premier said.
There is only one criteria for reopening the interstate border, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said on Thursday morning, and that is almost a month without coronavirus community transmission in NSW.
“At this point in time, the trigger to open the border into NSW is when they have had two incubation periods [14 days each] of no community transmission,” Dr Young told reporters on Thursday.
“Yesterday [Wednesday], they had one case, so they are getting there.
“Now, if they were to have 28 days of no community transmission – that is the current definition to open the border – then that would occur.
“We know the highest risk of bringing the virus into this state is from areas that have higher amounts of community transmission.”
A border bubble exists to help those communities on either side of the Queensland-NSW border still be able to access essential services, such as medical appointments.
It encompasses the Tweed Heads Shire Council area and Gold Coast City Council boundaries, with included residents allowed to move within those two areas, but no further.
Meanwhile, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant indicated the health advice concerning aged care facilities would soon be updated, Ms Berejiklian said.
Last Friday, NSW Health urged people living and working in greater Sydney and the Central Coast to avoid aged care facilities over concerns that the Sydney CBD cluster had spread to several other suburbs.
Ms Berejiklian hoped NSW Heath would be able to update the community about any changes on Thursday or Friday.
Furthermore, NSW Health issued a number of alerts for Sydney locations on Thursday.
Anyone who attended a church service at Life in the Spirit Ministry at Prestons, in Sydney’s south-west, on Sunday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, is considered a close contact of a case and must get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days.
People who attended the following venues at these times are casual contacts of cases. This means they should be particularly alert in looking for symptoms and get tested if even the most minor symptom – such as a runny nose, fever or a scratchy throat – develops.
- Westfield Chatswood on Thursday, August 27 from 1pm to 1.50pm
- Gram Café and Pancakes, Chatswood Station on Thursday, August 27 from 11.10am to 12.15pm
- Balmain Community Pharmacy, 273 Darling Street, Balmain, on Monday, August 31 from 11am-11.20am
- God’s Power Ministries Heckenberg, 18/7-9 Progress Circuit, Prestons, on Sunday, August 30 from 2.50pm to 3.30pm
- The foyer of Quality Suites Camperdown, 108 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, on Saturday, August 29 from 3.15 to 4.30pm
- Leaf Café & Co, Lidcombe Shopping Centre on Monday, August 31 from 11.30am to 1.30pm
Kate Aubusson is Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Mary Ward is a reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Toby Crockford is a breaking news reporter at the Brisbane Times