The number of NSW coronavirus cases has more than doubled in a week with a Sydney high school shut down after a Year 11 student tested positive and another aged care worker contracting the disease.
The two latest cases take the total number of people with COVID-19 in NSW to 26.
Epping Boys High School was closed on Friday as a precautionary measure while health authorities assess the situation over the weekend.
“This is the first example, we believe, in Australia where a student within a school environment has been impacted,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
“We’ll give them (the school community) good advice on what’s happening on Monday.”
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant says the government is “prepared to take whatever action is in the best interests of the students and staff and the broader community”.
That means it’s possible the school could be closed for up to two weeks, she admitted.
NSW Health says the Epping student was the son of a Ryde Hospital healthcare worker who was a contact of a 53-year-old male doctor who has coronavirus.
However, the student’s mother isn’t ill, so authorities are unsure how he contracted the disease.
“We are currently investigating,” Dr Chant told reporters in Sydney.
“The child may have come into contact through a different mechanism.”
The other latest case is an aged care worker at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park.
Dr Chant said that meant there were now two staff members and four residents – one of who has died – who tested positive to the novel coronavirus.
“We could well see additional cases in that nursing home … (but) what we are actually trying to do is prevent any further onwards transmission,” she said.
A childcare group that visited the nursing home has been tested and all those results came back negative, Dr Chant announced on Friday.
Almost all of the people who attended a radiology workshop at Liverpool Hospital have also been cleared after two doctors from the seminar subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Ms Berejiklian told people to keep things in perspective.
“Make sure you self-isolate if you feel you’ve got any symptoms, stay at home if you’re unwell, follow the basic procedures and at all times know that our health system is on high alert,” the premier said.
“We are anticipating this virus will have a concerning phase of a number of months ahead of us.”
The state’s chief health officer says people should be careful when visiting hospitals to avoid potentially infecting vulnerable patients.
“If you have any symptoms of an illness, albeit incredibly mild please, defer visits,” Dr Chant said.
Healthy people visiting hospitals should wash their hands thoroughly prior to and after entering wards.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday insisted “there is no other place on this earth that we would rather be during this challenging time”.
He implored parents to not panic and said the ill Epping student was “not bad but he is not well”.
“We expect over the weekend there will be a detailed examination of where the student has been since he contracted the virus and with whom he has been in contact,” Mr Hazzard said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press