A security guard working at the Marriott hotel in Sydney’s Circular Quay also worked shifts at a bunch of other places right before testing positive for COVID-19, the NSW government has announced.
The guard worked at the hotel for four days in early August and “most probably” picked the virus up from a traveller who was quarantining there, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters.
Since then, he’s worked shifts at Parramatta Court, Paddy’s Market Flemington and Bankstown Central Shopping Centre, potentially exposing countless people to the virus.
“This person had worked in a variety of settings, a lot of which would have brought him into contact with other people, particularly in areas concerned about community transmission,” Chant said.
“What that’s identified is that it’s quite a different sequence to other clusters such as the Crossroads Hotel… this is a different virus, and matches this [returned traveller at the hotel].”
The guard has already said he doesn’t remember coming into contact with any hotel guests, and NSW Health have not found any evidence of a breach in hotel quarantine. However, they’re now analysing CCTV footage to get to the bottom of what happened.
The incident has also brought to light how people who don’t have steady, consistent work are more at risk when it comes to both catching and spreading the virus.
A bunch of people including ACTU President Michele O’Neil and NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge mentioned just how vulnerable some of these workers are on Twitter.
So this is the same problem which could have been prevented. Workers in insecure work, having to work multiple jobs without paid pandemic leave. https://t.co/EqC7xGCR71— Michele O'Neil (@MicheleONeilAU) August 18, 2020
"Flexible work" has always been a health risk for workers and their families, and now we see it is harmful for the broader community too https://t.co/qkOoYFvOwJ— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) August 18, 2020
As NSW finally goes a week with only single-digit daily increases, contact tracers are now working to make sure this progress isn’t lost.
“After the initial public health investigation, people who were in close contact with the guard while infected have been placed in isolation,” Chant added.