NSW Health has issued an urgent alert to almost 20,000 residents after fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 were detected in the Byron Bay sewage network.
The discovery was made at a sewage treatment plant at Bryon Bay during routine monitoring.
The plant treats waste from about 19,000 people in Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise, and Broken Head.
“There are no known cases in this area, which is of great concern,” NSW Health said in a statement.
“Everyone in the area is asked to be especially vigilant for symptoms, and if they appear, to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received. If symptoms appear again, please be tested and isolate again.”
NSW Health reminded those from Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, as well as the Orange, Blayney or Caboone LGAs that they “must not leave home without a reasonable excuse”.
“Taking a holiday is not a reasonable excuse.”
New South Wales recorded 124 locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, and at least 70 were active in the community for some or all of their infectious period.
The lockdown now extends beyond Sydney and surrounds, to Orange and other areas in the state’s central west.
Stay-at-home orders will be in place there for at least a week, but no further exposure sites were added in the area on Thursday evening.
NSW has recorded 1648 local cases since the current outbreak began on June 16 with the case of an unvaccinated limo driver.
– with AAP