Hunter New England Local Health District has issued a fresh plea to anyone who attended the locations that two known coronavirus cases visited last week: if you have even the slightest symptoms, get tested immediately.
The plea came after Hunter New England Health announced on Tuesday that a man in his 60s, who is now in isolation, had tested positive after being visited by a Sydney man aged in his 20s on July 13.
The Port Stephens case was at the Salamander Bay shopping centre on July 15. He became symptomatic the next day.
The Sydney visitor also attended the Windsor Castle Hotel in East Maitland between 6-8 pm on Monday, July 13.
Hunter New England Health Public Health Physician Dr David Durrheim said people who visited those locations at those times were "at a slightly increased risk" than the rest of the community of having contracted COVID-19.
Dr Durrheim said people who were at the locations during the outlined times "must be tested for COVID-19 even if you have the mildest of respiratory symptoms".
"Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath, is urged to get tested," he said.
"Even those with mild symptoms such as fatigue, new muscle aches or pains, a change in taste or smell or a new runny nose are encouraged to arrange testing."
"Now's the time to trample on this virus. We do not want it getting a hold in our community again."
The Sydney case was a close contact from the Wetherill Park Thai restaurant cluster, the state's top health officer said.
NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant said that authorities had initially feared a fresh cluster before they were able to link the source back to the restaurant.
She said that while the cases were not welcome, there were silver linings to their detection.
"Each of those cases that we announce, whilst they are new COVID cases, are a chance to block chains of transmission," she said.
"The case in Hunter New England could have been another cluster, could have been the tip of the iceberg, but we were able to trace it back."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was on high alert and those failing to obey rules should face the full extent of penalties.
Ten of the 13 new cases announced on Tuesday had been linked to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster. In the latest numbers announced on Wednesday, NSW Health said the total number of associated cases had hit 37.
Confirmed infections in two customers and an employee at the Stockland Mall Weatherill Park eatery prompted a call for patrons to be tested if they attended on July 9, 10, 11, 12 or 14.
Even those without symptoms or who have received a negative test result have been encouraged to isolate for two weeks.
The Windsor Castle in East Maitland remained closed on Wednesday while the pub underwent a deep clean and staff were tested.
"This is not a Department of Health requirement, however we want to go over and above in regards to how this is managed for the safety of our staff and loyal patrons," the pub said in a statement on social media.
"We thank you all for your support and understanding during this time."
Salamander Bay Square said it received notification about the case's visit "post close of trade" on Tuesday.
"At this stage we have been informed that the customer visited Woolworths, Aldi and NewsXPress," the centre said in a statement.
"We have not been advised of the time that the customer visited Salamander Bay Square."
Anyone who visited either venue and is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should seek testing immediately.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Additional staff have been deployed to Tomaree Community Hospital COVID-19 clinic to increase testing capability.
Testing is also available at the Maitland Hospital walk-in clinic or through a local GP.
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