There are now 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District - a rise of six cases in the past 24 hours.
Of these cases, 10 patients are being cared for in Wollongong Hospital, one patient in Shellharbour Hospital and two patients in Shoalhaven Hospital according to local health authorities.
The majority of patients are older - with 20 each in the 60 to 69 and the 70 to 79 age ranges. Nine are aged over 80.
However younger people are impacted too - with eight confirmed cases from 20 to 29, and two cases in those under 20.
Those not requiring hospitalisation are in self-isolation. Meantime the ISLHD public health unit is contacting close contacts of all cases, and they are required to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the infected person.
NSW Health figures show that the first case was confirmed in Wollongong on March 14; in Shellharbour on March 18 and in Kiama and the Shoalhaven on March 16. The first case in Wingecarribee was March 13.
By March 20, those cases had risen to 12 in Wollongong; two in Shellharbour; two in Kiama, two in Shoahaven and 13 in Wingecarribee.
Just five days later - there was 29 cases in Wollongong; 15 in Shellharbour; three in Kiama; 12 in the Shoalhaven and 17 in Wingecarribee.
And by March 30 - the last breakdown available - those figures had jumped to 42 in Wollongong; 18 in Shellharbour; 20 in the Shoalhaven; one in Kiama and 17 in Wingecarribee.
While the figures for Kiama appear to have gone up and down, it is likely due to visitors who were tested in the LGA, and then returned home to a different LGA.
Meantime the figures show that the Wollongong LGA is one of 11 LGAs where there has been a cluster of cases at an event.
In Wollongong, there has been 38 confirmed cases from a wedding at Tumbling Waters Retreat at Stanwell Tops on March 6. However these cases may not be included in overall figures for Wollongong, as most, if not all, infected wedding guests do not live in the LGA.
COVID-19 assessment clinics have been established at Wollongong, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven hospitals so those with symptoms can be tested and treated quickly.
However the ISLHD advises that the best way to protect against COVID-19 is the same as any respiratory infection such as the flu:
- Always practise good hygiene
- Wash your hands often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick.