ANYONE who encountered a Sydney tree lopping business that went "door to door" in the Hunter for almost two weeks "may have been exposed to COVID-19", Hunter New England Health warns.
Hunter New England Health said a Sydney tree lopping business, Sau Tree Services, worked in the region between August 15 and 31 and has since had multiple staff members test positive.
Its records are also sketchy, forcing health authorities to piece together where they went from people reporting their contact.
"Unfortunately records are very incomplete and so we've put a call out to the community," public health physician Dr David Durrheim said.
"If these folks came to your door, you may well have been exposed to COVID."
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A Kotara resident said they were door knocked by the business on August 9 - before the reported exposure period.
They said two people approached their home not wearing masks and asked if they needed their trees taken care of before leaving a card.
"Initially I was shocked that there would be unmasked strangers on my door step in the middle of a pandemic," the resident said.
"I get that it's hard to be self employed at this time - the circumstances are heartbreaking. But then I got angry thinking that they had potentially exposed me and my young children to COVID."
The resident said they reported the matter to Crime Stoppers.
Authorities have also confirmed fresh Hunter COVID exposures overnight, with carpool rules in regional and rural areas to loosen for some workers.
The new exposures include a Lake Macquarie medical centre, customers of the tree lopping business that worked between the Hunter and Sydney and a bottle shop.
Before noon on Wednesday, the list had grown again to include Aldi Raymond Terrace and Coles Cessnock.
The Port Stephens supermarket was a casual contact venue between 6.58pm and 7.58pm on Thursday August 26, while Cessnock's exposure window was 8.35am to 8.45am the following evening.
Whitebridge Cellars was added to the list of casual contact sites on Tuesday night.
Anyone who visited the bottle shop at 140 Dudley Road between 3.45pm and 3.50pm on Friday August 27 or between 4pm and 4.05pm on Saturday August 28 is considered a casual contact.
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"If you engaged this business for their services between the dates above, you may have been exposed to COVID-19," the health service advised.
"Please urgently get tested, isolate and contact the Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 if you used this business's services."
The workers also attended Charlestown Medical and Dental Centre on 23 August from 9am - 10am.
Close contacts from the centre have already been contacted, but anyone who did not hear from NSW Health but attended during the window is considered a casual contact.
Casual contacts are urged to seek testing and isolate until they receive a negative result.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Wednesday announced that carpooling would be made available in rural and regional NSW for some workers under a public health order amendment.
The move is designed to recognise that agricultural workers face very different circumstances to those living in Sydney, he said.
"Living in regional communities and working in ag industries that underpin them presents a unique set of logistical challenges, including having to travel vast distances," Mr Barilaro said.
Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall said it would offer a huge benefit without compromising the intent of lockdowns.
"I have heard of abattoir workers, shearers and fruit pickers not being able to get to work as they don't have a car or a licence, which will have a profound flow-on effect for the agricultural supply chain," Mr Marshall said.
Rural and regional NSW residents who have not been in Greater Sydney in the previous 14 days are eligible as long as they have received their first vaccine dose or will receive it before September 10.
They must use a vehicle arranged by an employer for transporting staff to and from work, sign in through Service NSW, wear a face mask at all times and keep windows down to circulate outside air where practicable.
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