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Resident at west Sydney's Newmarch House tests positive to COVID-19 after deadly outbreak

An elderly resident who tested positive for COVID-19 at a care home two months after the facility was ravaged by one of Australia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks has later tested negative for the virus.

An outbreak at the Newmarch House aged care facility in Kingswood, western Sydney, claimed 19 lives when it swept through the facility over a two month period earlier this year. 

The home has been free of infections for more than two months. 

‘We can confirm the resident who originally tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday at Newmarch House is now negative. This was a false-positive case,’ Anglicare said in a statement on Tuesday.

‘We are all relieved and sincerely appreciate the support received from NSW Health.

Pictured: Newmarch House nursing home during a deadly outbreak of coronavirus cases which claimed 19 lives. An elderly resident who tested positive for the virus on Monday has since tested negative, the home's operator has confirmed

Pictured: Newmarch House nursing home during a deadly outbreak of coronavirus cases which claimed 19 lives. An elderly resident who tested positive for the virus on Monday has since tested negative, the home’s operator has confirmed

‘We are continuing our precautions and retaining our infection control procedures and other protocols for the time being.’

A report released last month found staff shortages and inadequate protective gear had exacerbated the outbreak.

Meanwhile, NSW health authorities are concerned about low COVID-19 testing rates as the school holidays approach.

Only four new cases were detected across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, including three returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one locally acquired case linked to a known cluster.

NSW Health acting director Christine Selvey on Monday urged people with even with the mildest symptoms to get tested.

The public school holidays are due to start on September 26, when many people will be travelling around the state.

Flowers left outside Newmarch House on May 4. The home has been free of infections for more than two months

Flowers left outside Newmarch House on May 4. The home has been free of infections for more than two months

‘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.

More than 9,300 people were tested in the latest reporting period, down from 14,426 the previous day.

Although weekend test numbers usually drop, Sunday’s figure was well below recent weekend numbers which have been in excess of 20,000.

The locally acquired case announced on Monday was a close contact of a previous case who attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club.

An ambulance is seen leaving Newmarch House on May 7. Only four new cases were detected across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday

An ambulance is seen leaving Newmarch House on May 7. Only four new cases were detected across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday

Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging other states to accept their fair share of returned overseas travellers into hotel quarantine.

‘NSW welcomes back around 2,500 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 said.

‘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.

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