Death toll rises to 26 after 6th Newmarch House resident dies

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A female doctor working at Nepean Hospital has tested positive to COVID-19 but had not been working with patients in the 48 hours before she started showing symptoms, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has confirmed.

She has also worked at Sydney Adventist Hospital before she was diagnosed but also did not contact with patients at that facility.

Eight staff members at the hospital — and mix of medical and non-medical staff — have been isolated as a precaution but none are yet showing any symptoms.

Mr Hazzard said today 3002 people across NSW have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic begun, with eight new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday.

Mr Hazzard said 2208 people have now recovered from COVID-19.

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An 82-year-old man from the Newmarch House aged care facility was the sole fatality from the virus in NSW is the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday.

A spokeswoman from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, who this morning confirmed the doctor’s positive test, said she had worn a mask at work and did not work when unwell.

“There is no ongoing risk to patients or staff and no impact on our services,” the spokeswoman said.

“Health screening is carried out on all staff at the start of each shift.

“The healthcare worker was undertaking non-clinical duties during this time.”

The spokeswoman said the doctor had recognised the first sign of symptoms and immediately got tested at a COVID-19 clinic.

The worker’s contacts are being traced and contacted with two from Nepean Hospital and a further eight staff at Sydney Adventist Hospital placed in isolation as a precaution.

“For privacy protection, no further details associated with contact tracing or testing will be provided,” the health authority said.

This state’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 36 after a sixth resident died at the aged care home in Caddens, near Penrith, where almost 50 people have been infected.

The 82-year-old man died on Saturday morning, operator Anglicare Sydney said.

This follows the death of a 96-year-old woman on Friday morning, a woman in her late 70s on Thursday and earlier fatalities of a woman and two men all aged in their 90s bringing the total death connected with the facility to six.

The facility is the state’s largest ongoing cluster, with some 31 of the almost 100 residents having been infected as well as 17 staff members.

An aged care worker at the healthcare facility in the Blue Mountains also tested positive for coronavirus, one of 12 new cases confirmed in NSW on Saturday.

NSW Health said no other positive cases had been confirmed at the facility.

NEW CORONAVIRUS APP TO LAUNCH

The controversial app to help trace people who come into contact with someone with COVID-19 will be launched on Sunday.

The Australian app is based on Singapore’s Tracetogether software, which records the Bluetooth connections a phone makes with others so the user can give that data to state health authorities if they catch the virus.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has recovered from a bout of COVID-19, said it was a more effective approach than checking your diary or trying to remember where you had been.

“The beauty of the app is that it can have a handshake, if you like, with people that you’ve been in close proximity with, find the phone,” he told Sky Sunday Agenda.

He said the privacy issues had been dealt with, and said the app would help the authorities stop the spread of the virus.

“It’s an incredibly important next step.”

A broader testing regime and a government contact tracing app are seen as key stepping stones to a relaxation of the economic shutdown.

The government wants at least 40 per cent of the population to sign up so officials can do “industrial-scale” contact tracing.



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