Fears of Covid-19 spike in NSW as cases linked to hotel

Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Jul 2020, 10:12AM
Medical staff perform tests on drivers outside the Crossroads Hotel, in the Sydney suburb of Casula. (Photo / Getty)

Fears of Covid-19 spike in NSW as cases linked to hotel

Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Jul 2020, 10:12AM

The south Sydney pub at the centre of a growing coronavirus cluster reportedly failed to take the names and contact details of some patrons, as more infections were linked to the venue on Sunday.

At least nine of the state’s new virus cases have been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, with Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth telling reporters Sunday afternoon it was “critically important” that anybody who visited the pub isolates for 14 days and seeks a test.

“We are at a critical point in the fight to contain the virus,” NSW Health director of health protection Jeremy McAnulty said.

“It’s essential that the community works together to limit the spread of the virus by always maintaining good hand hygiene, adhering to physical distancing rules whenever possible and getting tested whenever symptoms develop, however mild.”

Hundreds of NSW residents are now waiting to receive their test results, with a pop-up testing site set up outside the venue seeking to determine how many other patrons might be infected.

But Lauren, a customer who attended the hotel on Wednesday night, said neither her name or any other contact details were recorded when she visited the pub – leaving her disappointed that more precautions weren’t taken.

News.com.au has approached the Crossroads Hotel for comment.

The 26-year-old told news.com.au that the venue had been “relatively busy, as it would’ve been on any given night pre-COVID” but with less of a crowd.

And while the pub did have some social distancing measures in place – tables marked with signs telling people not to sit at them – she said it was mainly up to the patrons to ensure they were physically distanced from each other, and that her name, phone number or other contact details weren’t taken at the door like other businesses had implemented since reopening.

“At the time I didn’t think about it too much, to be honest,” Lauren said.

“Reflecting on it now, it angers me. During the media conference they mentioned having a list of patrons … is this only the people who booked tables? Where was this list located?

“If they only had one list, why didn’t they lock off the rest of the entrances and have everyone walk through the same entry to sign it?”

On Friday, when news of the first infections linked to the pub broke, she was at work and contacted the coronavirus hotline once she arrived home.

She was told she didn’t need to be tested or self-isolate “as they were only cautioning people who had been there on the Saturday”.

After patrons who attended the venue any time between July 3 and July 10, though, were asked by NSW Health Sunday morning to isolate or present for testing, Lauren went to Liverpool Hospital to get checked.

“I went to get tested this morning when the press conference finished,” she said.

“I knew I had been there (at the hotel) in the window and went to Liverpool hospital to get tested.

“They asked me if I had been at Crossroads Hotel as soon as I got there. They also had a sign in the door, stating anyone who had been at the hotel between the 3rd and 10th of July must isolate regardless of test results.”

The trip to the pub was Lauren’s first outing in five months – but she said she felt “stupid” for going out to eat.

“I do feel disappointed, but mostly in myself,” she said.

“I’ve been working hard to stay isolated since the beginning of this pandemic for my own health as well as my family’s and colleagues’.

“I know I didn’t break any rules, but you can’t help but feel guilty about it, because essentially it was my decision to go out.”

She said after her two weeks of self-isolation, she won’t be dining out or leaving her house unless it’s for work “until there is a vaccine”.

“Realistically this could happen anywhere. All it takes is for one person to not know they have it and it can just take off from there,” she said.

“I just think there could have been better precautions taken at the hotel to ensure details were taken.”

Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in NSW yesterday, bringing the total in the state to 3,289.

Two are returned travellers in hotel quarantine and three are close contacts of the man from the Blue Mountains who visited the Crossroads Hotel.