QML Pathology Medical staff test drivers and passengers at the pop up Covid Testing site at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Ewingsdale Road Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick
QML Pathology Medical staff test drivers and passengers at the pop up Covid Testing site at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Ewingsdale Road Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

EXPLAINED: NSW's first COVID case from hen's party

UPDATE 12.45pm: 

A locally-acquired NSW case of COVID-19 has been recorded in connection with a Byron Bay hen's party cluster.

Until 11.30am today (Wednesday), nine cases were associated with the cluster, all of them in Queensland. 

But the NSW Government has since confirmed a man in his 20s, who is in Northern NSW, became infected with the UK strain of the virus.

He was at the Byron Beach Hotel on Friday evening, at the same time as the hen's party.

"That person did attend the same time, at the same venue, as the hen's party," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

"The good news is the person did take our advice and got tested and has been in isolation."

Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Health team have been able to respond quickly to the situation because of the mandatory use of QR codes.

 

>> New restrictions for four NSW locations, Bluesfest in doubt

>> CONFIRMED: infectious man visited popular Ballina pub

>> 800 Northern NSW residents get tested for COVID

>> Thousands vaccinated and more than 100 GPs ready for jabs

Henry Rous Tavern posted this advice on their Facebook page on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 after it was revealed a positive case attended the pub while unknowingly infectious with COVID-19.
Henry Rous Tavern posted this advice on their Facebook page on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 after it was revealed a positive case attended the pub while unknowingly infectious with COVID-19.

 

She said the NSW case did the right thing.

He did not know he was infectious at the time he visited two Ballina venues. 

"They checked in, they co-operated," she said.

Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the man "sat in proximity to the travellers from Queensland who were infectious at the time".

"Three of those friends (of his) have already been tested and were negative," Dr Chant said.

Dr Chant said it was possible for more casual contact venues to be added to the NSW Health list as they obtain more information from infected people. 

"If you attended those, please immediately self-isolate and get a test," she said.

She said people who had signed in at Ballina's Henry Rous Tavern about the same time as the infected man on Sunday received a text message from NSW Health about 9pm Tuesday.

With Easter approaching, Dr Chant encouraged people to enjoy the sunshine in outdoor environments where possible, to reduce the risk of transmission.

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions announced for four Northern NSW local government areas - in force from 5pm Wednesday - was a "proportionate response". 

"This is to ensure we keep the state open … however in those four LGAs … we're asking people to take those extra precautions," she said.

"This means that businesses can still remain open people can move around.

"We think this is very much a proportionate response."

She said they weren't explicitly asking people not to travel to the region for Easter. 

"We're just saying if you choose to go, you'll be subject to these extra restrictions," she said.

"What the intention is of these restrictions is to avoid a super-spreading event.

"It's not that you can't go there, just be careful. Make sure you're extra-cautious."

 

Earlier:

There are now nine COVID-19 cases in a cluster linked to a Byron Bay hen's party.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young have delivered their latest statistics for confirmed cases within the case.

Dr Young said there were two locally-acquired cases confirmed overnight, both linked to the Byron Bay cluster.

The first diagnosis in the cluster was a PA Hospital nurse who travelled to Byron among a hen's party of ten people.

She is understood to have contracted the virus from a returned traveller from India at the hospital.

Her sister and six other partygoers had also contracted the virus by Tuesday, as well as a Queensland tradie who worked as an entertainer at the party.

Including the entertainer, there were 11 people at the party in total.

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: The Farm at Byron Bay is closed for business after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick
BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: The Farm at Byron Bay is closed for business after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

 

Dr Young said two separate, suspected cases which were under investigation on Tuesday were now ruled out as those people did not have COVID-19.

The two new cases include a second PA Hospital nurse and another person who lives in the same household, although Dr Young said only the nurse's infection had genome sequencing confirm a link to the Byron cluster.

She had received her first dose of a COVID vaccination on March 19, prior to working a shift on the COVID ward, Dr Young said.

"We're now working through whether this second nurse in that cluster acquired it on the ward," Dr Young said.

She said this second nurse received asymptomatic testing because of her work on the ward.

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: An empty Byron Beach Hotel in Byron Bay after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick
BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: An empty Byron Beach Hotel in Byron Bay after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

 

Significantly, she said this and Queensland's other current cluster had the highly-infectious UK strain of the virus.

She said it was "very encouraging" all new cases were linked to known clusters.

She said positive cases in hospital included two on the Gold Coast, one in Toowoomba and one in Bundaberg.

The NSW government has not yet confirmed whether there have been any new cases south of the border in the past 24 hours.

Dr Young said the first infected nurse should "be commended" because she "immediately came forward and got tested" after she first developed symptoms about 11am on Sunday, March 28.

Her result came back the same day.


Philip’s unconventional royal romance

Premium Content Philip’s unconventional royal romance

Prince Philip’s rather unconventional romance blossomed into love

Roads update: what remains closed

Roads update: what remains closed

The sun may be out but some roads are still closed due to flooding or other...

Byron Bay residents in quarantine to be slowly released

Premium Content Byron Bay residents in quarantine to be slowly released

Northern Rivers residents in quarantine thanked for ‘keeping the community safe’ as...