26 September 2023

Health supports lifeline as hotspot extends

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The Department of Health has extended recognition of the COVID-19 Hotspot in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong, to 16 July.

The Department said the extension meant the areas could continue to receive Commonwealth assistance.

Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly said as community transmission had continued with further cases emerging, and in line with NSW Government announcements, there was a need to extend the hotspot designation for a further week.

Professor Kelly reminded members of the public of the increased risk of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus and called on them to continue to follow the directions of NSW Health.

“All people are encouraged to continue to seek out their COVID-19 vaccination,” Professor Kelly said.

“Getting vaccinated is considered a valid reason to leave home,” he said.

Professor Kelly said declaring a hotspot for Commonwealth support triggered, if required, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the National Medical Stockpile and actions for aged care facilities including PPE, single site workforce supplement and integration of an aged care response centre into the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre.

He said the Commonwealth could also help with the provision of contact tracing; asymptomatic testing via General Practice-led respiratory clinics; reprioritisation of vaccine supplies; and access to COVID-19 Disaster Payments, if eligibility criteria were met.

Professor Kelly said the latter came into force when the State-imposed lockdown ran for greater than seven days.

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