Low COVID-19 testing rates are concerning NSW health authorities as school holidays approach, with only four new cases detected across the state on Sunday.
The new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm include three returned travellers in hotel quarantine and just one locally acquired case, which is linked to a known cluster.
But health authorities fear the news may not be as good as it seems, with a recent reduction in testing numbers prompting them to warn there’s no room for complacency.
NSW Health acting director Christine Selvey urged people even with the mildest symptoms to get tested.
That message was even more important with public school holidays starting on September 26, when many people will be travelling around the state.
“Testing numbers have dropped over the past two weeks and this is a concern particularly in areas like southwestern, western and southeastern Sydney,” she said in a video update on Monday.
More than 9300 people were tested in the latest reporting period, down from 14,426 the previous day.
Although weekend test numbers usually drop, Sunday’s figure is well below recent weekend numbers, which have been in excess of 20,000.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian implored people to not become complacent, saying every day is a battle against the virus.
“Remember we let our guard down earlier in the year and the Victoria situation arose unexpectedly,” she told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
The locally acquired case announced on Monday is a close contact of a previous case who attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club.
Meanwhile, the premier is urging other states to accept their fair share of returned overseas travellers into hotel quarantine.
“NSW welcomes back around 2500 people every week, and we know the hotel quarantine system in NSW is managed well, but we’re doing so much more than all the other states combined,” she told reporters on Monday.
“I would love to see the other states take on their fair share.”
More than 25,000 Australians stuck overseas might not make it home for Christmas unless the cap – currently 4000 per week – on international arrivals is increased.
NSW Health is treating 81 COVID-19 cases, including six in intensive care, three of whom are being ventilated.