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How Sydney CBD coronavirus cluster got out of control

2 weeks ago 18

On August 25, public health officials were notified of two new coronavirus cases in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The cases had no known source, but more positive cases over the following days revealed they belonged to a new cluster of infections linked to the City Tattersalls gym on Pitt St in the heart of the CBD.

Those infected unknowingly spread the virus to other workplaces, businesses, homes and on public transport before they were diagnosed, a new report from NSW Health has revealed.

Restaurants, bars, offices, schools and other gyms have been forced to undergo extensive cleaning as the city desperately tries to fend off the growing cluster, which as of September 2 stands at 49 cases.

Students and staff at Double Bay Public School and Ryde High School were forced into quarantine after infectious people attended the institutions before exhibiting any symptoms.

The Reddam Early Learning Centre in Lindfield was also forced to close for cleaning, with all staff and children who attended the centre considered close contacts and told to get tested and isolate for 14 days.

New genomic testing shows the cluster originated from the Bankstown funerals cluster, but the search for the person who spread the virus into the city is ongoing.

The City Tattersalls gym remains closed as contact tracers desperately search for more infected patrons.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed on Tuesday that health officials believe a dodgy swipe card used at the gym may have allowed people to enter without their identities being recorded.

“We were advised people weren't swiping in or were travelling in a large group and perhaps, dare I say it, using other people's cards to sign in,” she said.

Not signing in at the Tattersalls club means some people could be infected and unknowingly spreading the virus through the community, as contact tracers are unable to reach them.

As of August 29, there were eight exposure locations linked to the cluster, including two workplaces, a dance school and a hairdresser.

Of the 34 cases that had been associated with the cluster at that time, 26 were infected in public settings, while just seven were household contacts.

In the week ending August 29, there were still seven cases not linked to another infected person or existing cluster.

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