Health officials are bracing for more Omicron cases linked to an outbreak at a Sydney school and nearby gym that NSW’s top doctor described as a “rapidly evolving situation”.
There have been 13 cases of the Omicron Covid-19 strain confirmed in NSW, with at least three people linked to the school and urgent genomic testing underway on more potential infections.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said results of further “likely” cases were due later on Saturday.
She said public health teams were working with the National Centre for Immunisation Research to document how transmission had occurred in the clusters and that this information would be shared internationally.
“The key pieces of information we need to understand is how easily it spreads, how severe the disease is across all age groups, whether past infection with previous strains protects or modifies the disease severity and how effective our current vaccines are,” she said.
There were 337 new Covid-19 cases recorded on Friday and one of them, a student at Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney, was found to have the Omicron variant.
It was later revealed that two more students from the Christian school contracted the Omicron variant while genome testing was still underway for a further 10 people.
NSW Health said it was concerned the virus had already spread within the community as the student has no overseas travel history or links to people with overseas travel history.
It forced the entire K-12 school to be dismissed for the year with all staff and students identified as close contacts and directed to quarantine.
Anyone who attended the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in Villawood last Saturday at any time from 9am to 4.30pm on November 27 is considered a close contact of an Omicron case and must immediately get tested and self-isolate for seven days, and return a second negative test on their sixth day of isolation.
The majority of the daily Covid-19 cases in NSW are still believed to be of the Delta strain.
NSW reported 325 cases of Covid-19 and one more death on Saturday morning.
Dr Chant said the person who died was a woman in her 50s from southwestern of Sydney who had received two doses of a vaccine and had underlying health conditions before her death in Liverpool Hospital.
The daily figures remain relatively stable despite concerns over a new variant.
There are 139 people in hospital with Covid-19 across NSW, including 25 patients in intensive care.
There is still little known about the Omicron strain, which was first identified in South Africa and which the World Health Organisation last week named as a variant of concern.