There is a growing coronavirus cluster inside a group of public housing towers in Redfern, just south of Sydney’s CBD.
So far a dozen people across three buildings on Morehead Street have returned positive COVID-19 tests.
Two-thirds of the residents have had at least their first dose of a vaccine, and mobile teams are going door-to-door testing and vaccinating people.
“In relation to the Redfern towers, in particular, I understand that there are 12 cases across the three buildings which accommodate approximately, I think it’s 630 people,” Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale said this morning.
“And there have been a lot of efforts going in to support residents in those buildings even before these cases emerged.
“So there have been regular testing and outreach and vaccination clinics run in those housing areas by both Sydney Local Health District and as well the Kirketon Road Centre from South Eastern Local Health District.
“And really good efforts made to have regular access to testing – I believe there was a pop-up testing clinic where more than 330 local residents have already been tested so far this week.”
The three towers are high-density with a large population of vulnerable members of the community.
Mass testing is taking place and residents have been asked to wear masks and avoid common areas.
Greens MP Jenny Leong is the local member for Newtown, and the buildings are within her electorate.
She has called for increased support for those in the buildings, including food security, but also things like access to the internet allowing communication and connectivity.
“The current outbreak is very concerning, and the Premier and responsible Ministers should leave no stone unturned in ensuring that people have access to information, testing, vaccines and practical support,” Ms Leong said in a statement today.
“It is critical that this response is done in coordination and partnership with first nations organisations and community members – and not imposed on the community.
“Many people who normally use libraries and free public wifi (to) access the internet cannot do that while they are required to isolate, and lack of internet is a serious issue of equity, and further compounds the health crisis,” she added.
“Food security, housing and a lack of a livable income for many in these communities are huge issues. It is totally unacceptable that so many people are relying on food charities to survive.”
There have been a growing number of cases in inner-Sydney in the past few weeks in suburbs such as Glebe, Waterloo, and Redfern.