AN adult with COVID-19 is receiving care at the John Hunter Hospital as the number of confirmed active cases in the region rose to eight on Thursday.
The Newcastle Herald understands the patient, a previously reported case, is being supported in intensive care - although health officials could not confirm this.
It comes as Hunter New England Health confirmed there had been three new cases of coronavirus in Port Stephens - a one-year-old child who attended Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Anna Bay, a child under 10 who attended Tomaree Public School, and a man in his 30s. It brings the Hunter's total number of confirmed cases to 289. All three new cases were close contacts of the previously reported Port Stephens case - a man in his 60s - who contracted it from a Sydney visitor.
The cluster has since been linked to the Thai Rock restaurant outbreak in Sydney.
The daycare centre, primary school and the co-located Tomaree High were all closed on Thursday for deep cleaning as contact tracing began.
The Newcastle Herald understands the schools will re-open on Monday.
Hunter New England Health has called for anyone who attended the Don Waring Oval in Nelson Bay on July 19 to be on the lookout for symptoms of COVID-19.
The child aged under 10 played in the Nelson Bay Blue Marlins under 9s Australian Rules match against the Newcastle City Sky Blues on Sunday, and was at the ground between 8.15am and 10am.
The child's team mates are considered close contacts and will be required to isolate for 14 days.
"The opposing team, and others present at the oval, are asked to be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested immediately should any respiratory symptoms or fever occur," a Hunter New England Health spokesperson said.
The health district is also calling on people who attended the Salamander Bay Square Woolworths on July 17 between 2.30pm and closing time, on July 18 between 4pm and closing time, July 19 between 12.45pm and closing time, and July 20 between 3pm and closing time to be on the lookout for symptoms.
Similarly, anyone who attended the Fingal Bay Cafe and Takeaway on July 17 between 11.30am and midday should get tested if symptoms present.
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Both Hunter New England Health and NSW Health confirmed both Woolworths and the cafe had been "thoroughly cleaned" with extra attention to "touch points" and that they presented no ongoing risk to the community.
Hunter New England public health physician Dr David Durrheim said his team was working hard to identify any further contacts or venues visited by the new cases.
"Further information will be provided as more information becomes available," Dr Durrheim said.
In NSW, there were 19 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on July 22, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 3444.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said the rise in local cases was "deeply concerning", especially given the vulnerability of Port Stephens' older population, and the number of aged care facilities in the area.
"This is what we didn't want to happen," she said.
"At the moment we're just trying to manage what is emerging, and ensure we have enough testing capacity on the ground so that people can do what they are being asked to do - which is to get tested if they have any symptoms.
"What has happened in Port Stephens has demonstrated just how simple and easy it is for there to be transmission in any direction.
"From now the message is - for all of NSW - to be extra vigilant and know, in every regional community, that this could happen to them as well."
Ms Washington urged people not to panic, to be patient, and continue to adhere to the public health advice.
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