The state government announced yesterday they will provide a weekly list of hotspots, where residents showing any symptoms of coronavirus will be urged to get tested.
But what makes an area a coronavirus hotspot?
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said today a hotspot is an area where community transmission is occurring with no known source. Dr Chant said there’s a “low threshold” to define an area as a hotspot, and the state was moving to greatly enhance testing in these areas to ensure cases of coronavirus weren’t being missed in the community.
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“Whenever we have a case where we don’t have a known source and when we talk to the individual and they say they’ve just gone to the local shops – clearly they’ve then acquired it through limited interactions in the community,” Dr Chant said.
“So basically we want to go out to that community and get high rates of testing to assure we’re not missing it.”
Dr Chant added it didn’t take numerous cases of unknown community transmission for a suburb to fall into the “hotspot” definition.
“We don’t need multiple unlinked cases,” Dr Chant said.
“We need just individual cases where we do not understand the extent of community transmission.”
She added today the community had been engaging with enhanced testing and health authorities didn’t see the traditional dip in numbers over the weekend.
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“We really want to see very high rates of testing and were aiming for around 8,000 tests per day,” Dr Chant added.
Five new coronavirus cases recorded in NSW today were linked to a known cluster, bringing the state’s total case number to 3009.
Yesterday the state added five more areas to the state’s list of COVID-19 hotspots. Those additions brought the total number of hotspots in NSW to 15.
The current hotspot areas in NSW are:
The Blue Mountains
The Northern Beaches
The Inner West
Dr Chant added that anyone in the state experiencing respiratory symptoms outside of a hotspot area is still urged to come forward and get a test.
Currently there are several hundred cases of COVID-19 in the state with no known source of infection.
The government said the enhanced data will provide them with better information on how the virus is testing.