Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

The Northern Territory has registered three new local cases of COVID-19 within the past 24 hours, including in a four-year-old girl, as a 72-hour mask mandate comes into place in Tennant Creek and five remote communities after positive sewage results.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said today that all the new cases had been registered in the town of Katherine, where the territory’s local outbreak began more than a month ago.

A four-year-old girl from the Katherine East area, who is family contact in a case that was discovered last week, is one of the people who tested positive.

Mrs Fyles said the girl has been in the Howard Springs quarantine facility throughout her infectious period.

Two other girls in Katherine East aged 15 and 17 have also tested positive.

Ms Fyles said the teens were tested positive during a targeted COVID “test flash” in the Acacia Road area, where last week’s positive case is found.

It is believed that they are not related.

The two girls will be transported to Howard Springs to undergo quarantine.

The new local cases take the number associated with the Katherine region cluster to 71.

About 60 people have been identified as close contacts in recent cases.

Mrs Fyles said this was a “significant” figure.

“We have a strong suspicion that we will have more positive cases in the coming days,” she said.

“Territories should be prepared for more cases to come out of that Katherine East situation, and we will make sure they are taken care of properly.”

Ms Fyles said wastewater samples from a number of catchments in Katherine, including on Bicentennial Road and Martin Terrace, continued to test positive for COVID-19.

There have also been positive wastewater results overnight from five of the remote communities around Katherine: Bulla, Daguragu, Pigeonhole, Kalkarindji and Lajamanu.

A 72-hour mask mandate is now in place for these communities and the surrounding homelands.

A weak detection of COVID-19 has also been found in wastewater in Tennant Creek, Ms. Fyles said, giving rise to a 72-hour mask mandate in the city.

However, the wastewater in Alice Springs, which yesterday tested positive for COVID-19, has now weakened to a presumed positive.

Ms Fyles said authorities would continue to monitor wastewater samples from the city.

“That does not mean they are out of the woods yet, but it is a good step forward for Alice Springs,” she said.

She said the result could have come from someone passing through the city while exiting the virus.

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