Byron, Tweed shires in snap seven-day lockdown, new exposure sites listed

A new list of exposure sites has been released by NSW Health as Byron and Tweed shires enter their first full day of lockdown after a crew member of the reality TV show I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here tested posted to COVID-19.

"We can confirm that one of our crew members has tested positive to COVID-19. This discovery was made through the rigorous testing regime implemented by our CovidSAFE plan. The crew member is fully vaccinated and was wearing PPE while at work," the production company ITV said in a statement.

The crew member had travelled from Sydney to Ballina on Saturday at 8.45am on Virgin flight 1141. Health authorities said the person was infectious over the weekend and on Monday in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas.

Anyone who attended the following venue at the times listed is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Kingscliff: Kingscliff Beach Hotel 102 Marine Parade Sunday 19 September 4:00pm - 9:00pm.

New venues of concern

Anyone who attended Kingscliff Salt Bar Beach bar and Bistro on Saturday 18 September, 6:40pm to 8:00pm, is considered a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed are considered a casual contact and must get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

  • Byron Bay: Combi, 5b/21-25 Fletcher Street, Saturday 18 September, 9:45am to 10:15am
  • Byron Bay: Assembly Label, 28 Jonson Street, Saturday 18 September, 10:40am to 11:00am
  • Byron Bay: Orgasmic Food Byron Bay, 11 Bay Lane, Saturday 18 September, 12:30pm to 1pm
  • Casuarina: Casuarina Health and Lifestyle Pharmacy, 10/482 Casuarina Way, Saturday 18 September, 2:15pm to 2:30pm
  • Kingscliff: Peppers Salt Resort and Spa - Reception Area, Bells Boulevard, Saturday 18 September, 2.30pm to 2:50pm
  • Kingscliff: Saltbean CafĂ©, 12 Bells Boulevard, Sunday 19 September 7:40am to 8:00am; Sunday 19 September, 10:15am to 10:45am; and Monday 20 September, 7:40am to 8:00am

Extra testing clinics

The Northern NSW Local Health District is calling on the community to come forward for testing in large numbers to detect any further potential cases.

It said fragments of the COVID-19 virus were again detected in the Wardell and Ballina sewage treatment plants, from samples taken on 19 September.

"This is the second detection in recent days for these sites. We urge people in these communities to come forward for testing if they have even mild cold-like symptoms, and isolate until a negative result is received," a statement said.

Extra testing clinics are open this week across the region:

  • QML Drive through testing clinic - TAFE NSW Kingscliff, 806 Cudgen Road, open from 9am to 4pm
  • QML Drive through testing clinic - Cavanbah Sports Ground, Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay, open from 9am-4pm
  • Cabbage Tree Island Health Post, open from 10am - 3pm

Under the Public Health orders, everyone in the affected LGAs must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason, which includes shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise and work or tertiary education if you can't work or study at home.

People who are fully vaccinated can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation, if all of those aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard this morning urged the community to keep getting tested and to get vaccinated.

"Unfortunately we've had some cases in the northern part of the state in Tweed, Byron Bay and Kempsey, and so there will be lockdown arrangements entered into from 5pm this afternoon in each of those local government areas," Mr Hazzard said.

"I have actually spoken with the local members of Parliament and other community leaders and there is a general understanding of the need for those lockdowns ... it will be initially for seven days and it will be reviewed.

"Public Health will be out encouraging obviously testing, and I certainly as Health Minister encourage everyone in those areas to take this very seriously - so far those areas have been kept relatively safe, but we need the community to keep getting tested, so the Public Health team can be very, very certain of what we need to do at the expiration of those seven days."

Mr Hazzard also called for those in the lockdown areas to go and get vaccinated.

"Let's make sure everyone across our state has the benefit of being safe for themselves, for their families and for their friends."

Just one infected person is shutting down our businesses, putting thousands of people off work and cafes and restaurants have fridges full of food that could end up in the bin.

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon described the lockdown announcement as a blow for residents and businesses, and said there needed to be more consideration for the impact of people leaving COVID hotspots and coming to areas like the Byron shire, "a long way from Sydney".

"Sydney businesses and residents have really been doing it tough over the last several months but as we are seeing, just one infected person is shutting down our businesses, putting thousands of people off work and cafes and restaurants have fridges full of food that could end up in the bin," Cr Lyon said.

"I echo the call from the Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, to have a vaccination hub set up in the Byron Shire, like what is available in the Lismore and Ballina local government areas.

"It's vital that everyone in the Byron Shire who wants a vaccine can get access to it because when NSW opens up there is little doubt people will be heading north and bringing COVID with them and our community will be vulnerable."

Cr Lyon urged residents to follow the Public Health orders "and we will get through this".

"The health and wellbeing of residents is Council's priority," he said.

From tomorrow, September 22, Council's office in Mullumbimby will be closed to the public but staff will be available on the phone or via email to help.

Other changes to Council services include the closure of:

  • The tip shop but the Resource Recovery Centre will remain open.
  • Byron, Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads libraries
  • Mullumbimby and Byron Bay pools
  • Main Beach and Tallow Beach car park

Information about COVID-19 and changes to services is on Council's website.