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Second confirmed Covid-19 case on campus detected in School of Chemistry

The staff member was present while infectious in the Chemistry Building and the Madsen Building.

In an email to staff this afternoon, Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott confirmed that “a staff member in the School of Chemistry on our Camperdown campus has tested positive for Covid-19.” The staff member was present whilst infectious in the Chemistry Building (F11) on the 19th and 20th of July and the Madsen Building (F09) on the 20th.

“As a precaution, if you visited the Chemistry or Madsen Buildings on [these] days, you should immediately get tested, self-isolate, and wait for further instructions from NSW Health.”

The announcement comes as NSW recorded 172 locally acquired cases today, the highest number in the current Sydney outbreak; 79 of these cases were in the community whilst infectious. Furthermore, on the 23rd, 143 students and staff were identified as potential close contacts of a different infected staff member in the Westmead Dental School. The number of close contacts of today’s infection is unknown. 

“Access to the spaces that the staff member attended on campus are being restricted for cleaning in accordance with NSW Health protocols. All other parts of the buildings will remain open (for essential activity only) on the advice of NSW Health, with COVID-safe arrangements in place.”

The staff member’s condition is unstated, but they are said to be receiving “appropriate medical care.”

In the announcement, Scott reiterates the importance of restricting visits to campus to “unless it is absolutely necessary,” but announces no changes to the stay-at-home policy for University staff members.

“There will be some circumstances where colleagues are unable to work remotely, and those colleagues must seek approval from your University Executive member to work on campus. You must then ensure you have taken the necessary safety precautions including limiting your time on campus and movement between buildings, wearing a mask, checking in and out with the Service NSW QR code, swiping in and out with your staff card and following all physical distancing and hygiene precautions.”

Scott has previously confirmed that face-to-face teaching will not return before week 5, with the situation being monitored in accordance with the development of Covid-19 cases and state government stay-at-home orders.