A map of coronavirus hot spots shows how the virus is fast spreading out of Sydney and into regional New South Wales, closing several schools and infecting pubs.
A total of 11 new cases were reported in the state on Friday after the shocking revelation on Thursday that regional New South Wales could be on a ‘knifes edge’.
Health authorities published a heat map of active cases across the state, which shows infections rapidly growing from July 24 to August 6.
The data reveals COVID-19 has left city boundaries, travelling as far north as Byron Bay and down south to Batemans Bay and Orange in the Central West.
Katoomba in the Blue Mountains has one active case, while Wollongong suburbs Cordeaux Heights and Cordeax have five active cases.
One of the areas of most concern is Newcastle, after a man in his 20s visited five pubs in three days and a Newcastle Jets match on Sunday.
He is a close contact of a teenager who was identified as a positive case on Wednesday, shutting St Francis Xavier’s College at Hamilton
Health authorities have warned they expect a spike in cases in the area, so they have enhanced their testing capabilities by extending hours and capacity at clinics.
Dr Kat Taylor, Public Health Controller for Hunter New England Health’s COVID-19 response, told reporters on Thursday they are working to identify any further contacts or venues of the two positive coronavirus cases in the Newcastle area.
‘It is vital people in the community continue to present for testing if experiencing symptoms to limit the spread of the virus,’ she said.
‘I encourage everyone to follow directions they receive about home isolation and quarantine, and maintain COVID-safe practices of physical distancing, coughing or sneezing into their elbow, and regularly washing their hands.’
The other case of concern is a teenager who was identified as having a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
Anyone who attended St Pius X High School in Adamstown on Monday August 3 is required to keep an eye out for coronavirus symptoms.
He caught the number 26 bus to school that day and all commuters who were on the bus are in self-isolation.
The teenager is also a member of the Newcastle Jets under 15s representative squad. He played a game at Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill, Sydney’s inner-west, on Saturday August 1.
His teammates and players in the opposition – the Stanmore Hawks – are considered close contacts and are in two-week isolation.
NSW Health said the majority of new cases being reported are linked to existing clusters – but a few worrying infections have no known source.
‘While most cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contacts with known cases, some have not been linked to known cases,’ it said.
One of the cases under investigation is a woman in her 60s from south-west Sydney.
The growth inside the city of Sydney is also alarming, as the possibility of a second wave threatens to trigger another lockdown in the country’s most populous state.
Sydney’s active cases were restricted to south-west Sydney on July 24, but the virus has now spread to the eastern suburbs, CBD, inner west, lower north shore and the Northern Beaches.
Contract tracing is underway to determine how she was exposed to the virus, with heavily populated suburbs at risk of infection in Sydney’s CBD and inner west.
The latest outbreaks are linked to a man in his 20s who visited seven venues while infectious across Glebe, Redfern, Enmore, the CBD and Marrickville.