Sydney High School Ordered To Close After Student Tests Positive For Coronavirus
A high school in Sydney's north-west will be forced to shut its doors to staff and students on Friday after a student in Year 11 tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement released on Thursday evening, NSW Health and Education said Epping Boys High School would be closed on Friday, March 6 for one day to allow officials to work through a contact and containment strategy.
Staff and students have been told to stay home and self isolate.
"The school will provide a further update over the weekend about next steps," NSW Health said in a statement.
Secretary of Education Mark Scott said the department had "well prepared" continuity plans.
"(Education) is contacting students, parents and the broader school community to provide advice and support," Scott said.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said authorities were immediately establishing contact with all new cases and their families and close contacts and advising them to self-isolate for 14 days.
The school, which currently has around 1200 enrolled students, released a statement on Facebook on Thursday night confirming it would be closed on Friday.
"In accordance with NSW Health advice staff and students at the school should self-isolate for the next few days while the contact tracing process is finalised," it said.
"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 latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases in NSW to 25.
It comes as around 17 children from Banksia College child care centre undergo testing for COVID-19 after visiting an aged care centre at Macquarie Park, also in the city's north-west, last week.
Their visit came a few days before it was confirmed a 50-year-old aged care nurse at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge facility tested positive for the virus.
A 95-year-old female resident has since died from the virus and three other residents are also infected.
Four family members of the deceased woman are being tested to determine if they have contracted the virus.
So far there have been no signs 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.
All visitors have since been banned from the site, with residents confined to their rooms, including at meal times, to prevent any further spread.
Dr Chant said its likely more residents at the home will test positive in the coming days and 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.
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It comes as NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard admitted the 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," he said.
NSW Health is doing everything they can to try to still contain it, but we do know that containment is ... an unlikely outcome.
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.