NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian foreshadows a likely extension of the lockdown as COVID strikes aged care at Belrose.

With 124 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 to 8.00pm last night (Wednesday, 21 July) 48 cases were infectious while in the community. Additional venue notifications for Belrose were issued late last night, with Woolworths at Glenrose Village Shopping Centre today being called out by NSW Health as a particular venue of concern.

Worryingly, NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty announced that two of today’s notified cases are workers at a Belrose aged care facility.

“Two staff members at the Japara Corymbia in Belrose aged care facility have tested positive. We are testing other staff and residents at that facility,” said Dr McAnulty.

A spokesperson for NSW Health confirmed that the two workers at the facility had not been vaccinated but that the ‘vast majority’ of residents at the facility are fully vaccinated.

With the current lockdown due to end next Friday, 30 July, Premier Berejiklian today foreshadowed a likely extension of restrictions.

Gladys Berejiklian

Gladys Berejiklian

“I’m looking forward to the day when I can tell you we are on the decline but we are not there yet, in fact I suspect case numbers will get worse before they get better.

“Unfortunately those that are infectious in the community are in the main derived from critical activity, buying groceries, going to the pharmacist, having to undertake critical work.

“There will of course be a level of restriction on 31 July but the extent of that we can’t convey to the community until we have more information closer to that date.

“We’ll be able to tell the community this time next week what 31 July looks like. Please know that we’ll be living with some level of restriction, obviously we want that to be far less than we have today, until the vast majority of our population is vaccinated.

“We want to get to a position we can manage the rate of infection in the community and have our population live as safely and freely as possible. We are nowhere near there yet,” said Premier Berejiklian.

Member for Wakehurst and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also explained a change to mask rules due to come into force from today.

Brad Hazzard

Brad Hazzard

“From here on in, if you are required to wear a mask and you don’t wear a mask for what you say is a medical reason, you will be required to have in your possession a letter or other evidence from a registered medical practitioner explaining that is actually a true situation,” said Minister Hazzard.

Images: NSW Health, Japara Healthcare