The Northern Territory has registered one new case of COVID-19 attached to the Katherine Regional Cluster within the last 24 hours.
- A man from Lajamanu has tested positive for COVID, in the first case for the remote community in the NT
- That brings the total NT outbreak to 60 cases
- Binjari will go from a tough to standard lockdown after a new round of testing came back negative
That case is in a 45-year-old man from the remote community of Lajamanu in central Australia.
He is fully vaccinated.
It is the first case recorded in Lajamanu that went into blockade on Saturday after wastewater samples tested positive for COVID-19.
Lockdown orders were lifted in Lajamanu yesterday and Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the community would only remain under lockout rules.
Mrs Fyles said the man would be transferred to the Howard Springs COVID quarantine facility near Darwin.
He has 13 close contacts who are also to be transported to the center.
His positive test result brings the total number of cases part of the outbreak to 60.
Mrs Fyles said the man’s viral load was currently quite low.
“It could be two scenarios: it could be that he’s recovering from his illness and it’s just what’s left, or it could be that he’s recently got COVID-19,” she said.
She said authorities are currently interviewing the man to determine his recent movements, including any contact he may have had with people from Katherine.
Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain thanked the Lajamanu community for their patience with lockdown and lockout restrictions and for standing up for testing and vaccination.
“I suppose that was what we feared, but it’s a single case,” he said.
“Like we said yesterday, we did not think there was widespread transfer, but this case means we need to have a further push and an effort to see if there has been any other further spread.”
Mrs Fyles said the man’s case at least provided some clarity on the identification of COVID-19 viral fragments in Lajamanus’ wastewater.
“The results give us a little bit of an answer about the positive wastewater that we have had in Lajamanu over the last few days,” she said.
“That wastewater is still negative based on our latest test results.”
“So it’s good news that we have … two days in a row with negative wastewater in Lajamanu.”
Binjari, near Katherine, will be moved from a hard lockdown to a standard lockdown after 147 COVID-19 tests from the community came back negative.
Sewage samples from the local community are now also testing negative for COVID-19.
“We still need the people of Binjari to stay in their community, but they may have a little more freedom to try. [to] come to the store and take care of yourself, “said Mrs. Fyles.
The minister said a fourth test round would be held in Binjari today.
“We hope that if all this is negative, it will … put Binjari in a great position in the future,” she said.
In Katherine, wastewater in the Bicentennial Road and Chambers Crescent catchments is still testing positive for COVID, which Ms Fyles said was a source of concern for authorities.
“We definitely have this recurring detection of COVID,” she said.
“We have a number of close contacts in that area, so it may be that they have developed COVID, and therefore the test is really important.”
She urged Katherine residents who experience symptoms of COVID, however mild, to step forward and be tested to help authorities track the source.
Robinson River will move out of lockout and “back to normalcy” after all day-12 tests for the community came back negative for the virus, Ms. Fyles said.
“I think, [this is] a great result for the community and for all those who have worked hard to ensure that Robinson River did not turn into a significant eruption, “she said.
“I understand that from today, everything will start to return to normal in the Robinson River,” she said.
“Everyone who should feel really proud. It was the first remote community outbreak in the Northern Territory, and they’ve done a great job.”
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