Coronavirus case closes Katoomba High School for day

Katoomba High School. Source: Facebook
Katoomba High School. Source: Facebook

UPDATE 6pm: Katoomba High School is being intensively cleaned over the weekend and school will resume on Monday, March 16. NSW Health has contacted all staff and students who have had close contact with the COVID-19 case, principal Jenny Boyall said on the school's Facebook page.

UPDATE 3.30pm: There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. NSW Health are contacting people who have had close contact with the confirmed cases.

"The risk of contracting COVID in the community from casual contact remains low," saidAssociate Professor Bradley Forssman, Director Public Health, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

There are coronavirus clinics open 7 days a week at Blue Mountains Hospital (9am to 5pm), Lithgow Hospital (10am to 3pm) and Nepean Hospital (10.30am to 6.30pm).

Assoc Prof Forssman said these clinics are for people who have:

  • Travelled overseas in the last 14 days and also have symptoms similar to a cold or flu
  • Had close contact with a loved-one or other person who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID.

UPDATE 2pm: A staff member at Katoomba High School has tested positive to COVID-19, according to Katoomba High principal Jenny Boyall.

"NSW Health are working closely with us. I am now able to let you know that a staff member has tested positive to COVID-19. Staff and students identified as being close contacts will be directly contacted by NSW Health today," she posted on Katoomba High's Facebook page.

UPDATE 11am: Katoomba High principal Jenny Boyall has said NSW Health will be at the school on Friday morning, identifying who may have been in close contact to COVID-19.

"After that process has been completed NSW Health will contact those identified as having close contact within the next 48 hours. They will then provide further advice. Will keep everyone posted as information becomes available," she posted on the school's Facebook page.

Katoomba High School has been closed for today (Friday) following a confirmed case of coronavirus.

The school posted on its Facebook page on Thursday night: "Katoomba High School will not be operational tomorrow. A member of the school community has returned a positive test for COVID-19. To provide time for NSW Health to conduct their contact tracing process the school will be non-operational Friday 13 March, 2020. 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."

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Staff and students will be contacted and advised if they can resume school on Monday, March 16 or if a further quarantine period will be required.

Principal Jenny Boyall said the school "will continue to keep the school community informed as matters unfold".

Information on COVID-19 is available on the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/.../dise.../Pages/coronavirus.aspx.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath.

NSW Health recommends the best way to protect yourself against the virus is to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose as the virus can enter your body if it's on your hands and you rub your eyes or touch your nose or mouth.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Use disposable tissues
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell with flu-like symptoms.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with flu-like symptoms.
  • Maintain social distance when you can, 1.5 metres between you and others is good
  • If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.

If you have travelled overseas to another country in the past 14 days you should self-monitor for symptoms, practise social distancing as much as possible and immediately isolate yourself if you become unwell.

Social distancing means separating yourself from other people as much as possible when you're in public places - try to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between you and others - and avoiding crowded places.

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel, NSW Health recommends seeking medical attention. Call your GP, not visit, or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for advice.

As of 11am Friday, March 13, there were 92 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW.

Meanwhile, Blue Mountains Tourism (BMT) businesses are operating as usual, with extra precautions.

BMT president and Blue Mountains Explorer Bus owner Jason Cronshaw said the tourism organisation was closely monitoring the situation.

"We will of course take any new advice from NSW Health but for now, it is business as usual and we welcome visitors who want to get away from crowds, breathe our fresh mountain air and enjoy the space of our grand backyard,'' he said.

Tourism business owners such as hoteliers, restauranteurs, attraction operators and retailers have taken precautions like extra cleaning and providing guests with hand sanitiser as required, he said.