On the day the children visited, the aged care nurse with the virus was not present.
On the day the children visited, the aged care nurse with the virus was not present.

1200 students in isolation

A SYDNEY public school will be closed on Friday after a Year 11 student tested positive for the coronavirus.

Epping Boys High School will be closed for one day to allow the school community and health officials to "work through a contact and containment strategy", a statement from NSW Health said on Thursday.

Both students and staff at the school have been advised to stay at home and self-isolate over the weekend. The closure will affect approximately 1100 students.

"Staff and students will be contacted and advised if they can resume school as normal on Monday, 9 March 2020 or if a further quarantine period will be required," the school said on Facebook.

The Australian has been told the victim is 16 years old.

The NSW secretary of education, Mark Scott, said the department had "well prepared" plans and was contacting students, parents and the broader school community to provide advice and support.

The total number of confirmed virus cases in NSW is now at 25 as the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was clear containment of coronavirus in NSW was "unlikely".

Epping Boys High School will be closed for one day. Picture: Supplied
Epping Boys High School will be closed for one day. Picture: Supplied

CHILDCARE GROUP TO BE TESTED

Meanwhile, group visits by children to nursing homes have been barred after more than a dozen youngsters attended a Sydney aged care facility where an elderly coronavirus-infected woman died.

About 17 children from Banksia Cottage childcare centre will be assessed for COVID-19 after visiting residents at the nearby Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park on February 24.

That was before a 50-year-old aged care nurse from the facility tested positive for the coronavirus.

A 95-year-old female resident has since died from the virus and two male residents, aged 82 and 70, are also infected.

Four family members of the deceased woman are being tested to determine if they have contracted the virus.

 

There are fears some of the Banksia Cottage children may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a group visited the Dorothy Henderson Lodge. Picture: John Appleyard
There are fears some of the Banksia Cottage children may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a group visited the Dorothy Henderson Lodge. Picture: John Appleyard

 

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is warning authorities may not be able to contain the virus.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is warning authorities may not be able to contain the virus.


All visitors have since been banned from the site, with residents confined to their rooms, including at meal times, to prevent any further spread.

NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has also advised aged care facilities to stop hosting children from child care centres to reduce the risk of infection for Australia's most elderly and frail.

One of the two infected male residents wasn't directly cared for by the sick worker, and Dr Chant has warned more cases from the home are expected, with residents continuing to be actively screened for any sign of illness.

So far there's no sign of illness in the children and tests on a staff member who reported respiratory symptoms after the visit have been negative.

On the day the children visited, the aged care nurse with the virus was not present.

But a health clinic will be run on Thursday night to assess the children and reassure their families, Dr Chant said.

 

 

NEW PHASE OF VIRUS

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was clear the coronavirus outbreak had reached a new phase in the state.

"It is fair to say that we do have an evolution happening in the spread of this virus. NSW Health is doing everything they can to try to still contain it, but we do know that containment is … an unlikely outcome," he said.

He also revealed the two Sydney doctors who have the virus attended the same medical workshop on February 18, alongside about 70 other medical professionals.

The doctors, from Ryde and Liverpool hospitals, are so far the only ones who are sick from that group, and 14 days have passed, giving authorities hope that no one else has been infected.

But the group of doctors and health professionals is being monitored for any further signs of illness although authorities have been unable to contact 10 attendees despite multiple calls and messages.

Mr Hazzard said members of the public, and even some staff, had expressed concerns that it was no longer safe to attend Ryde Hospital. But the minister said every possible step had been taken to ensure the facility did not pose a public health risk.

- with AAP



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