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Redfern residential tower: Cluster confirmed by Redfern after mass test

Redfern residential tower: Cluster confirmed by Redfern after mass test

Following mass tests on a Redfern public housing tower, health authorities have confirmed the Covid-19 cluster, which was revealed exclusively by news.com.au.

Following mass tests on a Redfern public housing tower, health authorities have confirmed the Covid-19 cluster, which was unveiled exclusively on Wednesday by news.com.au.

The Covid-19 eruption at the 16-storey residential tower in Sydney’s inner suburbs had been kept quiet by NSW Health.

Locals told news.com.au that they have been locked inside the building, which they fear is “filled with” the virus.

NSW Health has confirmed to news.com.au that there has been an outbreak of at least 12 infected Covid-19 patients from one of the towers, while mass testing is taking place by hundreds of residents from neighboring towers.

An elderly woman told of how she had been told to go back inside after she dared to go out and buy some bread.

Residents are confined to their tiny apartments by order of a letter pushed under their doors, which orders them to keep their doors closed and avoid elevators, entrances and exits.

In a statement to news.com.au, NSW Health said more than 300 residents have now been tested on the Poet’s Corner test tent, which was set up on Tuesday.

More will be tested in the coming days.

The infected block at 57 Morehead Street, Redfern, known as “Lawson,” is one of three massive towers where all residents have been asked to be tested and isolated until they test negative.

But locals say it is impossible to isolate themselves in any of the buildings – called “the three sisters” – due to limited access via few elevators.

The eruption began around August 31, and cases have been identified in the apartment block for 13 days, a letter to residents said.

The letter, obtained by news.com.au, states “due to his exposure, no visitors or new residents may come to 57 Morehead Street Redfern for the next 14 days”.

However, the address is not listed among NSW Health’s online locations.

NSW Health said in its statement that confirmed cases and close contacts can be isolated in “special health care homes” if they cannot do so in their home.

News.com.au heard about a budding Redfern-Surry Hills cluster 12 days ago that had been identified by medical staff at St Vincent’s Hospital.
But when this reporter inquired about it, NSW Health downplayed the problem, saying there were a small number of cases everywhere in the City of Sydney LGA.

It refused to disclose individual numbers to Redfern, instead delivering the number of locally acquired cases throughout the Sydney Local Health District (LHD) – 152 – within 24 hours until 8pm on 3 September.

Residents at the Morehead Street Towers told news.com.au that they had received two NSW Health letters under their door, which had a Sydney LHD number that was “useless” to make inquiries.

An elderly resident said she was afraid to go outdoors after the Sydney LHD letter warned residents to “avoid common areas where possible” and “keep apartment doors (both the screen and the solid doors) closed”.

The woman felt even more isolated than before, unable to consult with anyone and was anxious when she was going out shopping outdoors.

Resident Tim, 51, said no specific information had been given to residents in any of the towers, and instead had to rely on rumors that the Lawson block was “permeated by it”.

Testing has now begun in earnest along Morehead Street with a special tent erected outside the tower shops known as Poet’s Corner.

Tim told news.com.au that residents being tested were told that health authorities would analyze results to see if the Lawson tower cluster had spread to the other towers – “Kendall” at number 43 and ” Gilmore “at number 55 Morehead Street.

“And then they come back in a month and vaccinate us all,” he said.

But Lawson resident Jason Hutchins, 39, told news.com.au that the NSW government was secretive and slow to respond to the special needs of a House Commission tower eruption.

The latest letter under the residents’ doors says that all residents in the tower are considered “casual contacts” and “instructed to be tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible and self-isolate until a negative test result” is returned.

“There’s no phone number you can call that will get through to someone who can answer questions, and there are people locked inside (the infected tower) who need help now,” he said.

“How can people isolate when they have to go to Centrelink in person or to the stores to get supplies, and then they are told without notice except for a piece of paper inside their doors?
“I can not isolate myself. If you can not get your benefits online – and there are many people here who do not even have online – then what will they do, starve?

There are two elevators (in the Lawson tower), all of which cannot go out and be tested in an orderly manner to avoid contact with others.

“Who are they making fun of?”

“They put people in danger and do not really tell anyone what is going on.

“They’re going to cause deaths the way they’ve handled this.”

When news.com.au visited the site Wednesday and took photographs while standing in the public area on Morehead Street, NSW Department of Communities & Justice officers responded quickly.

Without first saying where they worked, officers demanded to know who news.com.au was, and ordered this masthead to “call the media section” of DCJ or NSW Health.

The number of cases in the City of Sydney LGA, which includes Redfern, has risen, with locally acquired cases in the four weeks to 13 September reaching 928 – of which 763 had an unknown source.

News.com.au has sought answers from NSW Health media about Redfern’s eruption of residential towers.

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