NSW health authorities are racing to keep on top of an outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus linked to a Sydney school.
The ACT has also recorded its first Omicron case, a fully vaccinated person who tested positive on December 1.
The two new NSW Omicron cases are classmates of the Year Nine student who tested positive on Friday morning.
Authorities have no idea how the high school students caught the virus, with no recent overseas travel history or connection to anyone who has recently been abroad.
A new exposure site alert is in place where confirmed cases of Omicron visited.
Anyone who attended Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in Villawood on Saturday November 27 from 9am to 4.30pm is now a close contact.
They must immediately get tested and isolate according to NSW Health guidelines.
The school outbreak is the clearest indication yet that Omicron is in the community and on the move, with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard saying authorities had “no idea” how the students caught the variant.
“It would appear that the case could well be an on NSW soil transmission,” Mr Hazzard said.
The senior school has been dismissed for the year. All staff and students have been identified as close contacts and need to get tested and self-isolate.
Two further Omicron cases were confirmed on Friday as returned travellers who are family members of a child who tested positive to the variant on Thursday.
The family arrived on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on 23 November.
They are now isolating in the Special Health Accommodation.
There are now 13 cases of the Omicron variant in NSW.
Mr Hazzard said Omicron had not yet shown signs of being more severe than other variants.
“The positive side is we are not seeing what we saw in the other variants, we’re not seeing people suddenly being rushed to hospital,” he said.
“What we’re seeing is people who are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, generally.”
ACT confirms first Omicron infection
The ACT has also recorded its first Omicron variant case.
The person is fully vaccinated and returned a positive test result on December 1.
“It is not yet known if this case was acquired in the ACT or NSW,” the ACT Government said in a statement.
“The individual has not travelled overseas.”
A list of exposure sites has been revealed for the territory.
- Next Gen Canberra – Indoor Pool area, November 29, 5.15pm – 6.45pm
- The Knox Made in Watson, November 30, 9am – 10am
- Supabarn in Kingston, November 30, 4.20pm to 4.50pm
- Blue Gum Community School in Hackett – Spotted Bark End of Year Celebration – School Hall, November 30, 4.30pm to 6.30pm
Anyone who attended the venues at the listed times is a casual contact and must get tested and quarantine until a negative result is received.
Case numbers ‘only one measurement’ says NSW Premier
Premier Dominic Perrottet said he do not have plans to change the upcoming reduction in restrictions, specifically about mask use.
This is in spite of the state recording its highest case numbers in weeks.
“We would have expected those numbers to be much higher,” he said.
“Case numbers in themselves are only one measurement.”
He said hospitalisations and ICU presentations are the numbers that really matter.