New South Wales has recorded just eight new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, raising hope that residents in Sydney may be able to enjoy a relatively normal Christmas.
The result comes despite a record 44,466 tests carried out in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.
Seven of the cases have been linked to the northern beaches cluster.
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The eighth cases is still under investigation but involves a nurse who had been working to help transport people in quarantine.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian admits she did not expect so many people to turn out for testing.
“I feel so proud and deeply grateful that people have responded not just in the Northern Beaches community, but throughout Sydney and throughout all of New South Wales and that’s exactly what we want and what we need to see continue,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has confirmed a colleague of the nurse has also tested positive since 8pm last night and will be included in tomorrow’s figures.
Urgent testing is underway to confirm exactly how she contracted the virus, but it’s assumed she got it from a returned traveller.
“This case has transported several patients but we have identified that they also have transferred positive COVID cases,” Dr Chant said.
“We are obviously doing urgent genome sequencing to confirm that that is the source of their infection and those results will be available later today.”
The number of venues across Sydney that are potential exposure sites continues to grow and spread across the city.
Further cases have been confirmed among visitors to the Rose of Australia Hotel in Erskineville.
Alerts have been issued for Elementary Deli and Cafe in Paddington from December 17 to 19 and Bodyfit Gym in Blacktown on December 16, 17 and 18.
Residents in Sydney’s north are also on alert after fragments of the virus were detected in sewage at Hornsby Heights.
The Premier says they are yet to decide what restrictions will look like for Christmas Day.
“We’ll be looking to make a decision tomorrow based on what we know and understand during the day. We’ll make an announcement tomorrow on what the future of the situation on the Northern Beaches, Greater Sydney, will be.
“At this stage, there’s no reason for us at all to consider any changes to what’s happening in regional communities.