While Greater Sydney construction sites are shutting down for two weeks, work will recommence on Goulburn Base Hospital's $165 million redevelopment on Monday, July 19.
But the Southern NSW Health District says additional strict measures will be in place to protect workers, contractors and the community from COVID-19.
The move came after a Fairfield painter tested positive to COVID. He was working on the hospital site while infectious on Friday, July 9 but went into isolation from the following day. The Health District has advised he did not circulate in the community and travelled to and from the site from Sydney each day with two other painters, also working on the project. Council general manager Warwick Bennett said he had been advised by health authorities that those men had subsequently tested negative.
Goulburn has not recorded a positive COVID case since. Hundreds of people have turned up for testing.
A Health District spokeswoman said principal contractor Hansen Yuncken had assured it that it continued to follow the public health advice and implement workplace policies and procedures to manage COVID-19 in accordance with Public Health Orders. This now included surveillance testing.
"A COVID-19 testing tent is being established onsite to facilitate surveillance testing of workers from Greater Sydney, who are required to work or visit the site and are subject to the Public Health Order testing requirement," the spokeswoman said.
"Residents from the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool Council areas who are not permitted to leave these LGAs in accordance with the Public Health Order are not permitted onsite."
Additional measures have also been implemented to limit workers moving around the community. This includes engaging engaging local suppliers to facilitate contact-free food deliveries. All construction materials and suppliers continue to be delivered directly to the site.
But the Health District has given little insight into how the man passed through the company's COVID checks on July 9. It told The Post that Hansen Yuncken was responsible for managing in the site in this regard, as well as procuring supplies and subcontractors.
"The company has reiterated to Health Infrastructure its commitment to employing local workers where possible however, trades with required capacity are sourced from regional and metropolitan centres with proximity to the site," the spokeswoman said.
The District undertook a risk assessment of the worksite after the positive case. It was also deep cleaned.
"QR codes and mandatory mask wearing will continue to be in place for anyone attending site," she said.
In a piece of good news, "the majority" of people at the site on July 9 had been classed as casual contacts, meaning they only had to return a negative result and were not required to isolate after they received this.
Nevertheless, health authorities are urging everyone to be vigilant.
Anyone feeling unwell - even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, nausea, diarrhoea or muscle aches - is asked to self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing, so that any potential cases in the community are identified as quickly as possible.
"SNSWLHD is also reminding the community that travel to Greater Sydney should be limited," the spokeswoman said.
"Any resident of the Goulburn area who returns from Greater Sydney must abide by stay-at-home orders for 14 days after they leave the Greater Sydney area. This includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions.
"SNSWLHD would like to thank the community for the proactive response to testing. The safety and well-being of our local community, our workers and contractors is our number one priority."
For a list of free COVID-19 testing clinics in the Southern NSW Local Health District Area go to: https://www.snswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/our-services/infectious-disease/covid-19
Meantime, the hospital clinical services building is due to be completed later this year. It will open to the public in early 2022, followed by a final works phase.
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