COVID-19

NSW ‘may never find link’ to outbreak

“We have to accept we may never find the link … similar to the Avalon cluster: we still don’t know,” Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.The state recorded its first coronavirus case in 55 days after the security guard, who had received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month, tested positive late on Saturday night.While it has not been confirmed, it is thought the virus was spread from a returned traveller. But Ms Berejiklian said there had been no new cases of community transmission since then, and reassured NSW residents the situation is under control.“So long as people are staying out of hospital, and we’re managing the situation, people are keeping their jobs (and) we’re moving around as freely as we can: I think that’s a measure of success,” she said.Urgent contact tracing is underway after NSW Health revealed the 47-year-old man, who works across two Sydney quarantine hotels, Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney’s CBD and the Mantra hotel at Haymarket, caught the virus.RELATED: Urgent COVID alert at NSW venues“The guard was vaccinated on March 2, which was obviously good news,” health minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday.“But you should be aware the antibody reaction required from vaccination doesn‘t get confirmed, or doesn’t achieve its maximum, until sometime after the first and second vaccinations.“So we would expect he would be due for another vaccination in the next week or so. As we have said all along, vaccination helps but it does not necessarily stop you getting the virus.”Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the man also had a full-time office job and worked in the hotels over weekends.“(He was) was infectious while doing a shift and we have contacted around 130 people who worked from 7pm on Friday night to 7am on Saturday, overlapping that March 12 to March 13 (window),” she said.“We are asking those individuals to immediately self-isolate and get a test. Basically, that allows us time to work through and ascertain the nature of interaction that this security guard had with those quarantine workers.”Genomic sequencing revealed the man has the same UK strain as a returned traveller at one of the hotels he was working at.It is believed he contracted the virus while working on the 11th floor at the Sofitel in Wentworth but health authorities are yet to determine how, given he did not breach any protocols. The case has put several venues on alert, mainly within the Hurstville area.The man’s household contacts have also returned negative test results.

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