Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Merimbula.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales John Barilaro announced on Thursday morning, September 9, three COVID-19 cases in the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) - the previously reported cases in Batemans Bay and Cooma, but that are now included in official numbers.
He also announced two positive reports in Merimbula that had come in overnight after the 8pm Wednesday cutoff.
These are the first confirmed cases for the Bega Valley in more than 18 months, when the COVID-19 pandemic first started taking hold in NSW.
"Since 8pm we have been given notice of two more cases, both in Merimbula," Mr Barilaro said during Thursday's 11am media conference.
"That's why in the south of the state, the Bega region, we continue to have these stay at home orders."
It's understood the two cases may have links to both Harvey Norman Tura Beach, and Little Nippers Preschool in Merimbula.
Little Nippers Early Learning and Child Care Centre in Merimbula alerted parents at the service that a family member of a child who attends their service had tested positive to COVID-19, but that no children or staff had tested positive.
Harvey Norman in Tura Beach has also reportedly been closed for deep cleaning.
Bega District News attempted to call Harvey Norman at Tura Beach to confirm but the business declined to make comment.
Little Nippers Early Learning and Child Care Centre Director Sharon Walker said at 10.45 Thursday morning that the service had not been officially notified of any cases.
"We are following all of our policies and all of the official lines, but we have no official information and we haven't been contacted by the COVID tracing at the moment. We are taking complete precautionary actions," she said.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said health authorities were already working hard on contact tracing, with many already notified that they were close contacts of the two cases.
"Everyone should go and get tested. Those who have already been notified should follow the directions, get tested and isolate until the results are known.
"Follow the procedures and we'll all get through this."
Cr Fitzpatrick said a pop-up drive-through testing clinic would again be opening in the Club Sapphire car park, 119 Main St, Merimbula, from 11am.
There are concerns over the source of the current cases. If it's found that they have been doing the right thing and not moving outside our shire, that's an indication there are undetermined cases in our community.
NSW Health is urging anyone with symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.
To find your nearest testing clinic, visit the NSW Health website.
To book a vaccine visit the eligibility website.
Meanwhile, Mr Barilaro revealed on Thursday morning which regional NSW local government areas would be coming out of lockdown from this weekend.
However, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Snowy Monaro shires are not included, and will be remaining under stay at home orders for the time being.
"It's a bittersweet day as some regions will be opening up while others won't," Mr Barilaro said.
Even those coming out of lockdown from September 11 will have certain restrictions continuing.
- More to come
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