Kiama MP Gareth Ward has addressed the community after news broke today of two COVID cases in the Shoalhaven.
Residents of Bomaderry have been asked to come forward for testing after for the second day in a row COVID fragments were found in the Bomaderry sewage works.
NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale made the appeal to Bomaderry residents in the daily press conference on Thursday.
Across NSW there were 1431 locally acquired COVID cases, along with one overseas case.
Of those, 13 new cases were in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, including two in the Shoalhaven.
ISLHD said the two local cases are "residents of Shoalhaven Local Government Area" and investigations were "ongoing".
Mr Ward said it was "not a time to panic".
Although NSW or Illawarra Shoalhaven Health has not revealed the location of the two local COVID cases, Mr Ward said they were "isolating and being treated".
It is understood a South Nowra child care centre has temporarily closed after being advised by NSW Health that a positive COVID-19 case attended the centre, while a number of other locations are also beleived to be under investigation.
Mr Ward said the "presence of COVID fragments in a local sewerage treatment plant means that someone is, or has been, in the community who is COVID positive".
"The two positive cases are just two of 11,000 people now being treated by the NSW Health system for COVID-19 at present," Mr Ward said.
I would encourage people to remain calm. We are an intelligent community and I know that everyone in the Shoalhaven family wants to get through this.Kiama MP Gareth Ward
"For those anti-vaxxers in our community, of the 160 people who are on ventilators, gasping for air in our Intensive Care Units right now, 127 were not vaccinated.
"So far the Shoalhaven has done an exceptional job in following the rules, getting tested and vaccinated.
"And no matter what happens this is our best shield against the virus.
Two positive COVID cases have been identified in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area.— Shelley Hancock MP (@ShelleyMP) September 3, 2021
I’m calling on all local residents to get tested today so we can get this local outbreak under control!!
It is also so important to get vaccinated.
"As a Bomaderry resident, I'm doing my best to limit my movements and interactions with people which I'm sure will delight many.
"But on a serious note, I would encourage people to remain calm. We are an intelligent community and I know that everyone in the Shoalhaven family wants to get through this.
"Keep it up Shoalhaven we are doing well and we're almost there."
He described the Shoalhaven's vaccination rates as "f...ing fantastic".
On Friday, the Goodstart Early Learning child care centre on Hillcrest Avenue at South Nowra temporarily closed after being advised by NSW Health that a positive COVID-19 case attended the facility.
Centre director Kim Downie has advised parents of the exposure and closure in a text.
The centre's posts came the same day it was revealed that COVID fragments had been detected in Bomaderry Sewage Plant, which NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant described as a "concern" as it was an "area where we don't have cases".
Ms Downie's text, which has been shared widely on Facebook, says "We have been advised by NSW Health that the centre will need to close temporarily due to a person who attended the centre on Tuesday, August 31, testing positive for COVID the centre will be closed."
"If you or your child were at the centre on the above day we recommend you get tested and isolate until you hear from NSW Health," the text continued.
It says the centre was "currently awaiting further information from NSW Health about contact tracing at the centre and anyone at the centre who is identified as a close contact will be contacted directly by the health authorities."
Parents were urged if they or their children developed any symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and a loss of sense of smell or taste, please get tested and self-isolate.
"We apologise for the short notice but this is an important message to share with our families. Please be assured we will follow the advice of NSW Health before re-opening," the text said.
"Thanks for your understanding I will provide more information as it becomes available."
Bangalay Villas, at Shoalhaven Heads, also closed for a day as a precaution after a staff member was a possible casual contact.
While Bangalay owner Michelle Bishop did not receive contact from NSW Health, she decided to make the call for all workers to get tested for COVID-19 after a staff member's boyfriend's family member tested positive to the virus.
The staff member let Ms Bishop know about the potential casual contact on Tuesday, August 31, and Bangalay was shut the next day, reopening on Thursday, September 2, when all staff members returned a negative test result.
"We didn't wait for NSW Health to contact us, we were just being super cautious," she said.
"We made the call to get everyone tested because we just felt that's a responsibility we have to our staff and the community.
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"We just don't want to take any risks. We want to be able to stay open, and we certainly don't want to see COVID down here."
Ms Bishop said while the chances were "slim" staff had contracted COVID, she would rather lose a day's trade rather than risk it.
"We knew it was a very, very slim probability that there would be a positive test, but we just wanted to be ultra vigilant," she said.
"Money is something that I'm sure a lot of other businesses would be thinking about at the moment. But the damage that it could do if we someone was positive and kept operating would be a lot worse than just closing for a day"
After pivoting to providing takeaway meals to comply with COVID-19 lockdown rules, Michelle thanked the community for their continued support.
"We're doing takeaway really just to maintain a presence and keep our doors open," she said.
"It's been really hard to pivot, but I'm really grateful for the support we're getting from the community and our regular guests."
There have been reports of numerous possible Shoalhaven exposure sites over the past few days, which the South Coast Register has been trying to gain confirmation of, but NSW Health and Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District, until today said there are no positive cases listed for the Shoalhaven.
At this stage it is not known if any venues of concern for the Shoalhaven area will be listed.
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