Lockdowns under review in western NSW, as southern outbreak grows

© Provided by ABC Health

Lockdowns are under review across parts of regional New South Wales as the virus stabilises in the west, but continues to spread further south.

Case numbers in the Western NSW Local Health District have remained relatively steady, with another seven people contracting the virus.

Of those, four cases were in Dubbo and one each in Walgett, Mudgee and Cowra.

The Cowra Shire Council has entered its first full day of lockdown after a nine-year-old boy was infectious in the community and at school for two days.

Today’s new case is a parent of a student, who attends the Cowra Public School, which has been closed to allow for testing and cleaning.

Lockdown extension tipped for Hilltops

It’s a different picture in the south of the state.

In the Southern NSW Local Health District, nine cases have been detected in the past 24 hours; three in Goulburn and Yass, two in Queanbeyan and one in the Upper Lachlan Shire that remains under investigation.

Concerns remain for the Murrumbidgee LHD, where five people have tested positive overnight, including a woman in her 40s and three children who are household contacts of a previously reported case.

The other is a teenager.

Almost half of the LHD’s cases are children aged between two and 18 years.

The Hilltops Council in the Southern Tablelands went back into lockdown last Friday after a case was identified for the first time in the current outbreak in Young.

The local government area, which also includes Harden-Murrumburrah, has recorded 12 cases in total so far.

Mayor Brian Ingram said he expected the stay-at-home orders to be extended for at least another week as case numbers continued to grow and the source of the original infection remained under investigation.

“I really feel for the local small businesses, [it] makes it very, very hard,” Cr Ingram said.

“They came out of lockdown in town and you couldn’t move, it was buzzing.”

Cr Ingram encouraged residents to continue getting vaccinated to ensure the community was protected if the virus spread further.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, I would sincerely ask you to really consider the benefits of being vaccinated not just for yourself but for family and friends and the wider community,” he said.

Health authorities are pleased with testing numbers in the region, as more than 1,000 people have turned up to be swabbed in the past three days.

Detections of virus fragments in the sewage at Griffith, have concerned authorities as there are no known cases in that area.

Lockdown reviews

Upper House MP Sam Farraway said a decision on which local government areas would be released from lockdown was set to be announced on Thursday.

“Where possible, we need to get businesses and the economy going again,” he said.

The re-opening of the Orange City Council, Narromine, Gilgandra and Brewarrina Shire Councils will be discussed at a crisis cabinet meeting as the regions approach the 14-day mark with zero new cases.

The decision to ease restrictions is based upon the risk factor of any recent cases.

State Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the situation “could change overnight”.

From tomorrow, surveillance testing across the LHD will be available in every town, meaning people who do not have symptoms are not required to isolate while awaiting test results.

Testing number have risen since the program was introduced.

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