Woollahra local government area has eight residents with COVID-19: four in Paddington, two within the Woollahra postcode, one in Rose Bay and another in Edgecliff/Point Piper.
The western Sydney postcode of Doonside has four cases, and Hornsby, Balmain, Cammeray and Liverpool/Casula have three cases each.
Single cases popped up in residents across Glebe, Waterloo, Ryde, Lane Cove, Parramatta, Hunters Hill, St Ives and the Hills Shire and Lane Cove.
A spokesman from NSW Health said the cases were mainly due to people from the northern beaches visiting locations in Greater Sydney – while unknowingly infectious – for work, appointments or socialising.
“These cases then led to further detection in people who were close contacts of theirs, including household contacts,” the spokesman said.
Most of the transmissions outside the northern beaches had been linked to several key seeding events at venues in Greater Sydney and close contacts of people who acquired the virus in these venues.
Six cases are linked to Turramurra’s Salon for Hair, four cases to the Rose in Erskineville, three to the Paragon Hotel and two to the Paddington Alimentari restaurant.
Of the 45 cases total cases outside the northern beaches, 32 have traceable links to the Avalon cluster and eight cases are household contacts of a confirmed case.
Four cases are under investigation: a Bondi man; a man who commuted to an educational institution in Manly; a man who spent time in Chifley Square and the MLC centre in the CBD; and a patient transport worker in western Sydney.
Some of these unlinked cases unknowingly infected their colleagues or family members, who are included in the household and close contacts of confirmed cases total.
The 45th case is the bus driver who shuttled air crew between Sydney Airport and their accommodation – the first case detected on December 16. His case is definitively not linked to the Avalon cluster.
With 84 confirmed cases, the upper northern beaches accounts for the bulk of the Avalon outbreak, which explains the strict lock-down measures its community is living under.
The lower zone had just 10 cases, which explains why the state government decided to divide the zone at the Narrabeen Bridge. It also provides a fairly strong justification for further easing restrictions in this lower zone in the New Year.
Most of the newest cases in the Avalon cluster have been people who had been identified as close contacts of previous cases and were already isolating, the NSW Health spokesman said.
The state’s public health teams are desperate to avoid seeding events outside the northern beaches that could trigger major outbreaks. Worse still would be to discover the virus has been spreading through stealth, undetected within the broader community.
New Year’s Eve and the new year will be a particularly anxious time for tracers.
These fears are driving their repeated calls for the public – from Wollongong, through the heart of Sydney, the Blue Mountains and up to the Central Coast – to come forward for testing if they have symptoms, have come into contact with a confirmed case or visited an exposed venue.
“If you are a close contact of a case, it is critical you complete your full period of isolation, even if you receive a negative test result,” the spokesman said.
“It is also vital that you receive a negative test result before leaving isolation. People can continue to become positive for COVID-19 up to 14 days after exposure, as we have seen in some cases in isolation in recent day.”
When a close contact is identified all their household contacts must also isolate until the close contact receives a negative test result and they have been able to effectively isolate from that close contact.
Anyone in Greater Sydney whose home is not set up to allow them to effectively isolate from their families can be moved to special health accommodation to see out their isolation.
Kate Aubusson is Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.