Coles Express service station now the Hunter’s second COVID exposure site
- A male employee working at the Wallsend Coles Express site is considered a close contact
- Anyone at the service station on Saturday, July 17, between 2:45pm and 3:00pm is a casual contact
- Some information on the NSW Health website about the exposure site is “wrong”
Removalists have been identified as the source of a COVID exposure at the westbound Coles Service Station in Thomas Street at Wallsend.
Public health physician Dr David Durrheim said anyone who attended the Coles Express service station on Saturday, July 17, between 2:45pm and 3:00pm is a casual contact.
These people must immediately get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
“Unfortunately, we know that these removalists that came up, there have been removalists that have come all over Hunter New England and we don’t know which ones necessarily are infected,” Dr Durrheim said.
“It’s really important that any of us … with any symptoms should consider the possibility that we might have inadvertently come into contact with the Sydney case, and we should get tested as well.”
It is the second service station in the Hunter region listed as a COVID exposure site this week, after a 7-Eleven service station in Thornton was identified as a low-risk COVID exposure site.
Removalists behind latest COVID scare
A male employee working at the Wallsend Coles Express site is considered a close contact.
Dr Durrheim said the staff member had been tested and would be in isolation for the next 14 days.
“For anybody else who was in that venue at that time, they may have been exposed, and we ask them to immediately go and get tested and isolate until they get a negative result,” Dr Durrheim said.
People contacting the ABC this morning via SMS were confused about what constitutes a casual or close contact, and what to do in both cases.
“NSW Health lists Wallsend service station as a close contact site. Requires 14 days of mandatory isolation, not just a casual test and wait for results. Their information is inconsistent and extremely confusing ” – ABC Listener
Dr Durrheim acknowledged that information at the NSW Health website was “wrong and would have to be corrected”.
The only person considered a close contact by Hunter New England Health is the staff member, who has been “contacted, is in isolation, and has been tested”.
“They are doing the right thing to protect our community,” he said.
“These removalists were wearing face masks which is a help, but we know that there have been some transmission events, even with face masks.
“Anybody else in the store is a casual contact, not a close contact, but they do need to get tested, and they do need to monitor for symptoms.”
Dr Durrheim said everyone in the Hunter region should be on the lookout for symptoms and should get tested immediately if they were unwell.
Extracted from ABC