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HomeLatest NewsCOVID on the Beaches: a summary of everything locally relevant

COVID on the Beaches: a summary of everything locally relevant

We expect to provide our next full update by 24 February. 

27 January 2022: COVID DEATHS AND CASE NUMBERS 

Two Northern Beaches residents with COVID-19 died yesterday. This included a man in his 60s who was yet to receive his booster and a woman in her 70s who had received all three doses.  While Northern Sydney Health confirmed the deaths they did not advise whether they were at home or in hospital at the time of their deaths or in which suburb they resided. We do not know if they had underlying health conditions.

These were among 29 deaths recorded to 8pm yesterday, bringing the state total to 1,198 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of active cases of the virus by LGA is no longer a useful metric as NSW Health continues to only list positive PCR tests and not the now more commonly relied on Rapid Antigen Test.

Raw data points to just over 6,000 active cases on the Northern Beaches but given there are about 800 positive RAT tests for the Northern Sydney district self-reported daily the real number could be five fold.

19 January 2022: THE BIG LOCAL UPDATE ON COVID 19

There are currently (18/1/22) officially 10,285 active cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Beaches local government area, 2,224 of which are in postcode 2099 –  North Curl Curl, Dee Why, Cromer and Narraweena.

What are the cases by suburb?

You can view the breakdown by suburb by following this link, reviewing the “Map of NSW PCR test and cases reported from PCR tests”, pressing the three lines in the top left corner then viewing your selected postcode.

Ah, RATs

The number of active cases is likely to be considerably higher with the recent redirect to Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) rather than the more time-consuming office swabs or PCRs. Brookvale Health Centre, for example, has been sending those presenting without symptoms home with a RAT.

This morning’s update from NSW Health showed 12,450 positive RATS and 19,847 PCR tests in the last 24 hours so it’s highly probably that the number of active cases in the area is double (or significantly more) than reported and closer to 20,000.

The at-home tests are still very hard to come by and our pinned Facebook thread continues to be a source for locals to share where they have managed to access RATS, as well as waiting times for PCR tests and turnaround times for results. The lines have substantially quietened, and many are reporting short queues and same day results at the private clinics.

BOOSTER ACCESS BROUGHT FORWARD

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Dom Perrottet this morning announced that booster vaccinations will be offered at state-run facilities to those three months from their second dose, rather than four.  This comes into effect on Friday, 21 January.

“Being able to get that booster at 3 months after your second dose gives the opportunity to be much safer, much sooner,” said Health Minister and local MP Brad Hazzard said.

“In addition to the state facilities opening at three months for boosters, individuals can still attend with their GPs or pharmacies when the Federal Government authorises them to provide boosters at three months, in due course.”

This implies most still have to wait four months until the Federal government advises otherwise.

While there has been some useful information shared on our thread regarding booster availability, the central resource for locating a vacant appointment is  via COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.

YOUR QUESTIONS

We asked our readers what questions they needed answers for regarding COVID-19. These were the answers we received from NSW Health. 

For the now thousands of local residents who are  recovering from COVID, when should they have their booster shots ( or second shot if they were yet to have it)?

The official advice from ATAGI is that people who have had COVID-19 can still be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine once they are well again. Vaccination can be deferred for up to 6 months as past infection reduces the chance of reinfection for at least this amount of time but there is no requirement to delay vaccination.

People should however delay vaccination until they have recovered from the acute illness.

If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 between their first and second doses, or between their second and booster dose, the patient should delay next dose until they have recovered from the acute illness.

People with prolonged symptoms from COVID-19 beyond 6 months should be vaccinated on a case by case basis.

Another good resource: https://www.ncirs.org.au/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines-frequently-asked-questions#

If you have had COVID will you return a positive result on RAT and PCRs and if so, how long?

People who have recovered from COVID-19 have a low risk of getting it again in the 28 days after they are released as most people develop some immunity (ability to fight the disease).

Health state: “If you come into contact with someone with COVID-19 within 28 days after you are released, you will generally not need to self-isolate or get a test unless you have symptoms. If you come into contact with someone with COVID-19 more than 28 days after you are released, you will need to self-isolate, test and follow the advice in the Information for people exposed to COVID-19 and Get tested for COVID-19 factsheets. However, if you have been released from isolation before other positive cases in your household, you will not need to self-isolate or test unless you develop new COVID-19 symptoms.”

Source: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/advice-for-confirmed.aspx

Could you please clarify the rules around daycare as at 18/1/22

–          If you have returned from overseas, are you able to have your child at daycare  straight after returning or does it depnd on the individual centre policy?

–          If a daycare educator tests positive, are children still required to isolate?

We were directed to this page for information about childcare centres and COVID, though we couldn’t find many of the explicit answers here.  It may be that most centres have individual policies, so defer to them for a final answer.

Regarding exposure and isolation, based on this criteria, if the child spend time with a COVID positive educator who was masked it appears to be recommended but not enforced.

Where can I get a vaccination for myself or my child?     

NSW Health encourages everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccination or their booster dose to book into a NSW Health vaccination clinic or another provider without delay through the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder.

Is vaccination mandatory for me or my child?

No, vaccination remains voluntary, however proof of vaccination has and will likely continue to be required in several settings including travel and residential aged care. It can also significantly reduce the severity of the illness and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.

You can learn about the rules here, and about vaccinating children here.

9 January 2022: NUMBERS UPDATE; COVID TESTING QUEUES QUIETEN DOWN AS RATS TAKE OVER

As at 8 January 2022 there were 9,550 active cases of COVID-19 on the Northern Beaches, up by almost 1,000 from the previous day. Postcodes 2099 and 2100 have the highest count with 1808 and 899 respectively. Manly, postcode 2095 and 2093  each have 866 and 880 cases despite their comparatively small populations.

While most COVID-testing centres are now open on the Northern Beaches they continue to operate on abridged hours, with many closing around lunchtime most days.  At Brookvale, those with symptoms are being provided Rapid Antigen Tests rather than wait for the PCR. This is likely to become more common practice has more at-home tests are made available.

While there are 100 million tests on their way to NSW, most will be diverted to high needs areas such as health, industry and vulnerable communities. The first batch is arriving this week.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government will receive 50 million tests from mid-January to February, with a further 50 million tests being sourced for delivery from February and into March.

“We are ensuring essential workers in our public workforce and vulnerable communities have access to free kits in this first round,” Mr Perrottet said.

“These tests, all approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, will help them to quickly ascertain if they need to self-isolate and ensure support and health advice is provided to those who need it.”

Health Minister and local MP Brad Hazzard said most people should now use a RAT to confirm if they are positive for COVID-19. “This allows PCRs to be used when medically required for clinical care, as well as drastically reducing the queues for PCR testing,” Mr Hazzard said.

It is, however, still difficult to access one.

The government has updated its advice on RATs here. 

We continue to share daily information about queues and RAT tests via our pinned Facebook thread.

6 January 2022: TESTING CENTRES FLAGGED AS CLOSED RANDOMLY REOPEN; RAT CHANGES ANNOUNCED

Manly walk-in and Rat Park in Warriewood are both open again as changes to PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Tests are rolled out nationally.

COVID-19 RATs are free and available at state testing clinics for people who have symptoms or are a close contact.

National Cabinet agreed that up to 10 Rapid Antigen Tests over three months (a maximum of 5 in a month) will be made available free through pharmacies to people holding the following cards:

  • Pension Concession Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Card

These free tests will become available in the next two weeks. However, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and close contacts should attend a state clinic for free testing and not go to a pharmacy to receive a free test. Costs for providing these tests will be shared 50:50 between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories consistent with COVID shared funding agreements.

You can view the full details here.

4 January 2022: CASES EXPLODE; TESTING SITES CLOSE; MOST VISITORS BANNED FROM NBH

A further 731 cases of COVID-19 were detected on the Northern Beaches yesterday bringing our known active case load to nearly 5,000. Statewide there are 1344 across the state in hospital with COVID and 102 in ICU. Local figures are not immediately available.

It comes as Manly’s only testing site – run by clinical labs at Royal Far West – shuts up shop indefinitely. Rat Park was listed as closed but now appears to be open. Cromer drive through is closed until 10 January and Northern Beaches Hospital is currently closing by 11.30am each day to meet the backlog.  The queue for the Warringah Aquatic drive through this morning was 2km long.

Northern Beaches Hospital has this afternoon announced restrictions to visitors effective tomorrow.

Hospital CEO Andrew Newton issued the following statement:

“Now that the Christmas/New Year holiday period is over, NBH will be aligning with all other NSW hospitals regarding visitors. Therefore, from Wednesday 5/1/22 visiting will be by strict exception only and this is to minimise the risk of visitor-to-patient COVID transmission. There are also many immunocompromised patients (patients with lowered immune systems) admitted to NBH and we need to manage the risk.

NBH has allowed a single nominated visitor right through the holiday period, whereas other hospitals did not.

Therefore, from Wednesday 5/1/22 visitors will only be allowed as follows:

– BIRTHING MUMS: partner and a support person

– END OF LIFE CARE: a partner or significant relative/friend

– CHILDREN: parents only into the special care nursery and paediatric ward

– CONFUSED PATIENTS: a partner or significant relative/friend

Exempt visitors will have a rapid antigen test upon arrival and will be admitted if the result is negative. Visiting times will be 11am to 1pm each day so we can also conduct the rapid antigen tests of new patients being admitted

I know this is a disappointment, but it’s a necessary action to protect our patients, in the same way as all other hospitals.

A reminder when accessing the site. Please use WARRINGAH ROAD if you have an appointment or are coming to work.

If you attending the COVID Clinic between the hours of 0800-1130 please use the entry on FRENCHS FOREST ROAD WEST.

We have a running thread for sharing local covid news and testing site updates here: https://www.facebook.com/102635894840710/posts/460611922376437/?d=n

 

30 December 2021: BRIEF UPDATE ON TESTING

As at 9am Cromer testing site is closed as foreshadowed however the Warringah Aquatic has reopened.

Most information appears to have updated for local clinics on the NSW Health website. 

We have a running thread for sharing local covid news and testing site updates here: https://www.facebook.com/102635894840710/posts/460611922376437/?d=n

29 December 2021: HUNDREDS STUCK AS LOCAL TESTING SITES CLOSE;  CASES SOAR

COVID-19 cases across the state hit 11,201 new infections and three deaths in just 24 hours.

Case wise, that’s a new high score…

There are now 625 people in hospital, up from 557.

Meanwhile, people in queues at Histopath testing centres in Cromer and Warringah Aquatic this morning are being told both sites are shutting down completely until January 3. We are yet to receive an explanation. It was reported the Aquatic centre suddenly reopened later I the day.

Premier Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Pathology’s Professor Dominic Dwyer will provide a COVID-19 update at 12.30pm from Royal North Shore Hospital.

28 December 2021: GENERAL COVID UPDATE FOR NORTHERN BEACHES

There are now 1,359 active cases of COVID-19 on the Northern Beaches with Manly recording an additional 26 cases, postcode 2099 25 cases, and 2093 a further 18 cases overnight. There were 208 new cases in total added to the Northern Beaches tally for 27 December and 41 recoveries.

It is not known how many cases are asymptomatic or require hospitalisation. We do know that statewide there are 557 cases admitted to hospital, 60 in intensive care and 19 on ventilation. Their vaccination status is unknown to us.

Testing sites throughout the Northern Beaches (and across the State) continue to be overwhelmed with long lines as authorities ask those not directed to be tested or displaying symptoms to abstain from joining the queue. We have a running thread for sharing local covid news and testing site updates here: https://www.facebook.com/102635894840710/posts/460611922376437/?d=n

Christmas Day

There were 172 new cases recorded in just 24 hours on the Northern Beaches, bringing our total to 886 cases.

More than 6,000 new cases were detected in NSW.

Masks are now mandatory in most indoor settings (such as retail.)

We have a running thread for sharing local covid news and testing site updates here: https://www.facebook.com/102635894840710/posts/460611922376437/?d=n


21 December 2021: GENERAL COVID UPDATE FOR NORTHERN BEACHES

Case data shows a steady increase of COVID-19 on the Northern Beaches by about 40 cases per day this last week. We will exceed 300  total active local cases today, with raw data from 19 December showing 295 total cases. Manly – postcode 2095 –  is the fastest growing case cohort. There were eight new cases added just yesterday in the area, 16 cases over the four preceding days; a total of 35 active.

With a largely vaccinated population we did not intend to provide regular postcode breakdown data, though it can be viewed via the heat map available here, clicking on the three lines in the top left corner and selecting “postcode”.

As the new and lesser-known Omicron variant takes hold in Sydney, cases are expected to continue to escalate over the holiday period. While the severity of this variant is largely unknown, an explainer by this Sydney immunologist Dr Dan Suan suggests a heavy burden on our health system by early January regardless, which could lead to system overload. NSW has recorded over 3,000 in the last 24 hours.

The major tension locally right now, however, is the volume of COVID tests required to meet travel requirements for holiday makers, coinciding with the increase in cases.  As at 9am today, 21 December 2021, Northern Beaches Hospital has closed its testing line due to long lines causing major traffic congestion. The situation is worse at Warringah Aquatic, which currently remains open but has a line stretching well back in Allambie Road. There are long queues at all sites in the area. The Manly walk-in site, at Royal Far West currently snakes back to Manly Village Public School (pictured below).

The queue outside for the Manly covid testing clinic on 21 December 2021.

17 December 2021: COVID CASES JUMP; SNAP CHANGE IN LOCAL HOSPITAL RULES

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXiXiYlva9j/?utm_medium=copy_link

14 December 2021: LONG LINES ACROSS NORTHERN BEACHES COVID CLINICS

Expect long lines and delays at COVID testing clinics across the Northern Beaches – and much of Sydney – today. There has been a large spike in cases reported from NSW Health for the State (805 overnight compared with 536 the day earlier) but we are yet to see whether a similar spike has occurred locally. At last count, there were 79 known cases of COVID-19 across the area, about a dozen more than the week previous with no specific cluster. We understand there have been numerous notifications regarding potential casual contacts in shopping centres this week but there is no correlating spike in local cases according to current evidence.

The extensive testing underway is likely to relate to the reopening of borders and travellers requiring a clear test ahead of their departure, not a local cluster.

8 December 2021: BROOKVALE COVID CLINIC TO CLOSE AS CASES SLOWLY RISE 

The Northern Sydney Area Health Local Service, a branch of NSW Health, has confirmed it will be closing the Brookvale pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at the Brookale Community Health Centre from next Friday 17 December.

Manly Observer asked the health service to confirm the closure after it was contacted by concerned staff as well as members of the public who find it the most accessible clinic using public transport.

The Manly Hospital clinic is already closed as works begin on the site to develop a Youth Hospice.

Cases of COVID-19 have been slowly but steadily rising in the last month, with about 70 active cases across the Local Government Area compared with a dozen in early November.

But a health service spokesperson said the pop up clinic had declined in demand.

“All staff currently working at the clinic will be redeployed to other COVID-19 testing clinics, including Mona Vale Hospital.

As has occurred frequently throughout the pandemic response, clinics can reopen should the need arise for additional COVID-19 testing on the northern beaches.”

Meanwhile, candidates from Saturday’s local election have received at least two messages from NSW electoral commission advising they may be a casual contact of COVID-19 at polling booths. The most recent is the St Mark’s Freshwater polling place, the primary place to vote in the Harbord area. No times have been provided. See our online update from yesterday for other locations and details.

Across the Northern Sydney Local Health District there are a number of testing clinics available nearby including:

  • Dee Why Respiratory Clinic G/5 Mooramba Road, Dee Why
  • Cromer Park Histopath Pathology Drive-through Clinic 120 South Creek Road, Cromer
  • Warringah Aquatic Centre Histopath Pathology Drive-through Clinic 1 Aquatic Drive, Frenchs Forest
  • Northern Beaches Hospital Clinic
    105 Frenchs Forest Road (West), French Forest
  • Manly Clinical Labs Pathology Walk-in Clinic 19 – 21 S Steyne, Manly
  • Frenchs Forest 4Cyte Pathology Walk-in Clinic 4 Russell Avenue, Frenchs Forest
  • Mona Vale Drive-through Clinic
    Gate 2, Mona Vale Hospital, 18 Coronation Street, Mona Vale
  • Newport Surf Club Clinical Labs Pathology Drive-through Clinic 394 Barrenjoey Road, Newport
  • Killara Histopath Pathology Drive-through Clinic Dalcross Private Hospital Killara, 28 Stanhope Road, Killara
  • Royal North Shore Hospital Clinic Building 22, Herbert Street, St Leonards
  • Avalon Laverty Pathology Drive-through and Walk-in Clinic Avalon Bowling Club Car Park, Avalon Para

7 December 2021: Candidates given COVID alert by NSW Electoral Commision:


6 December 2021: Cases rise, but slowly, across the Northern Beaches

The number of COVID cases on the Northern Beaches continues to slowly but steadily climb as it reaches 70 at last count on 5 December.  This included a spike of five new cases in the postcode 2093 – broadly Balgowlah, Manly Vale and Balgowlah Heights.

We have been advised by a number of reliable sources that the Brookvale Covid testing clinic has been earmarked to close permanently on 17 December; one of only a small number of public facilities providing the service.

We will send a formal enquiry to the Health department and local representatives regarding the decision this week and reporting back.

BEACHES BACK IN THE RED

There are 50 active cases of COVID-19 on the Northern Beaches and case trends continue to creep up over the last ten days.

The increase coincides with identified cases at Dee Why, Elanora Heights and Mona Vale Public Schools this week, and Balgowlah Boys and Seaforth Public school the week prior.  There are cohorts isolating in different years for each school but none is non-operational.

Overnight there have been 13 new cases picked up, five of which were in the French Forest 2086 area.  There remaining cases were fairly evenly spread across the LGA. It is not known how many, if any,  of those infected require hospitalisation or are asymptomatic.

The spike in local school cases comes as major changes were announced to isolation requirements in schools. NSW Health has approved the use of rapid antigen home test (RAHT) kits as an option to get school students back to face-to-face learning earlier if they are identified as a close contact from an exposure at school.

You can read about the specific changes in protocols on the Education website here.

 

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