More than 18,500 residents in northwest Sydney are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 after fragments of the virus were found at two sewerage pumping stations in the area.
NSW Health issued an alert late Wednesday calling for residents in North Kellyville, Rouse Hill, Box Hill, The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens to come forward.
“People who live and/or work in these areas must be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear that might appear to be just be a cold,” NSW Health said.
“After testing, you must remain in isolation until a negative result is received.”
It comes after NSW recorded its fourth consecutive coronavirus-free day, and as authorities vowed to crack down on venues not abiding by COVID-safe regulations.
Checks on hospitality venues are ramping up in the lead up to the festive season after almost 100 breaches were detected last Friday in the COVID hotspot of southwest Sydney.
Of the 74 hospitality venues inspected, 13 were not registered as COVID Safe, 39 did not have a safety plan, 20 had issues with record keeping, seven were not properly adhering to social distancing, two had hygiene issues and 13 had no COVID-19 safety marshal.
Inspectors were also on the prowl at pubs and clubs screening the second State of Origin rugby league game on Wednesday night, checking forCOVID compliance.
Liquor & Gaming’s Dimitri Argeres announced the safety blitz after condemning “a complete disregard for social distancing” at Odyssey Bar Restaurant in Sydney’s inner west last month, which resulted in two $5000 fines for the venue.
Meanwhile, thousands of businesses across the state have been put on notice they have less than two weeks to electronically register their customers’ details.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says pen and paper will no longer cut it and QR codes will be mandatory from November 23, warning any business without the digital system will be fined.
“We can’t respond to a pandemic with paper. We must be fast and precise, and digital is the best way forward. There are no excuses,” he said on Wednesday.
“We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture.”
Meanwhile, NSW Health said four COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, in the 20,586 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – twice the number of tests done the previous day.