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No new local cases of COVID-19 for NSW, but still concern for Southern Highlands

COVID-19 drive-through testing station at the Albion Park Showground in July. Picture: Sylvia Liber
COVID-19 drive-through testing station at the Albion Park Showground in July. Picture: Sylvia Liber

For three days in a row NSW has recorded no new cases of locally acquired COVID-19, although there are still concerns for people in the Southern Highlands.

It comes as Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people to "stay local" for New Year's Eve to stop the spread and support local business.

"We do encourage people if they can afford it to consider a local venue," the premier said on Monday.

"That way, not only would it be COVID-safe but you'll also be supporting a local business in your suburb that may otherwise have had a really, really tough year."

Seven overseas travellers in hotel quarantine were the only new cases of COVID-19 in the state, diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday night.

However, due to recent positive cases in Moss Vale, NSW Health is concerned others in the broader Southern Highlands area may be walking around with unrecognised infection.

They want people to come forward for testing if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms.

The new walk-in COVID-19 clinic at Moss Vale Showground, 16 Illawarra Highway, Moss Vale remains open from 9am to 5pm.

NSW Health are also calling on people in the Rouse Hill area to get tested if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms after the state's sewage surveillance program detected traces of the virus in the area.

The catchment takes sewage from approximately 120,000 people.

Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in samples taken on Thursday, November 5, from the sewerage system that drains parts of Quakers Hill, Castle Hill, Annangrove, Kellyville, Box Hill, Kenthurst, Glenhaven, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, North Kellyville, Kellyville Ridge, Beaumont Hills, Stanhope Gardens, Baulkham Hills, Glenwood, Bella Vista, Parklea, Acacia Gardens and Norwest.

The positive sewage result can be due to shedding of the virus by someone who may have previously had the illness, with the virus 'shedding' through their system for up to six to eight weeks later.

The last locally acquired case who lives in this area was reported on September 8 so there are concerns that other people living or working in the area may have the infection without knowing it.

NSW Health is currently treating 63 COVID-19 cases. One patient is in intensive care and does not require ventilation. Ninety-five per cent of cases being treated by NSW Health are in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • . If you are unwell, get tested and isolate right away - don't delay.
  • . Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with you when you go out.
  • . Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • . Wear a mask when using public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in shops, places of worship and other places where you can't physically distance. When taking taxis or rideshares, commuters should also sit in the back.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/.../how-to-protect.../clinics or contact your GP. Most people receive their test results within 24 hours.

Locations linked to known cases, advice on testing and isolation, and areas identified for increased testing can be found here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates.

This story No new local cases of COVID-19 for NSW, but still concern for Southern Highlands first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.