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January 23, 2022

COVID update – Aquarius, Lismore sewage fragments and the South African variant

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The Northern NSW Local Health District says there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm 28 November, but, they are urging residents in the Lismore area to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.

The warning comes after the detection of fragments of the virus in sewage samples from the East Lismore and South Lismore treatment plants on 17 and 24 November.

While waste from the Lismore Base Hospital is processed in the South Lismore plant, the ongoing presence of fragments at both Lismore treatment plants Northern NSW Local Health District, Chief Executive, Wayne Jones, says they are strongly encouraging people in the area to remain vigilant and get tested for even the mildest of symptoms.

A list of the latest sewage detections in NSW and information about the NSW Sewage Surveillance Program is available on the NSW Health website.

Alert for travellers from Africa

New rules for returning travellers regarding the Omicron B.1.1.529 variant of concern are now in place.

In line with Commonwealth measures, all travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique,

Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status.

All travellers who have been in any other overseas country during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 72 hours, pending further health advice.

NSW Health says is an offence not to comply with a Public Health Order and penalties can apply and that compliance checks will be undertaken.

It is critical that anyone who has already arrived in NSW who has been in any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, and call NSW Health on 1800 943 553.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, you should get tested and isolate immediately if you have symptoms such as a runny nose, a scratchy or sore throat or are generally feeling unwell.

There are more than 450 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. Find a clinic on the NSW Government website or contact your GP.

No new cases at Aquarius 

NNSWLHD is continuing to support guests and staff at the Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay, in conjunction with other agencies, after a person at the venue tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

All close contacts will undergo mandatory day-six testing today and final determinations about isolation requirements will be made once those results are known.

Health staff are continuing to advise guests on appropriate isolation settings and testing requirements. There are now fewer than 50 people remaining on site.

‘We thank the Byron community for responding to calls to get tested as a precautionary measure,’ Wayne Jones. ‘Four active cases were known to be infectious in the community between 20-25 November.

‘Over the three days from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 November, more than 479 tests were conducted in Byron Bay, and for the week ending 28 November, there were 5,710 tests conducted across the District.

If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccination, you can find your closest clinic or make a booking at the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.


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Israel and Palestine

As an apologist for Israel, Michael Burd (Letters, 12 January) conveniently ignores the harsh truth of Israel’s brutal oppression, while claiming there are two...

Greens Mandy Nolan to hold community forum in support of nurses and paramedics

Locally and across the state nurses, and paramedics are struggling in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they are being asked to do double shifts and manage effectively in health system that is struggling to cope. This has led to an increasing number of nurses and paramedics resigning.

NSW COVID update on COVID deaths – vax stats and comorbidities

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet again opened his COVID update with condolences to families who have lost loved ones, and thanks to the  ‘inspirational work of our health workers'.

January 21 National Cabinet on Omicron, RATs, vax and treatments

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a media release about yesterday's meeting of the National Cabinet.