Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro.

How COVID outbreak will affect the Northern Rivers

NURSING homes across the state including the Northern Rivers have been told to exclude visitors as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the Sydney area.

An update posted on the NSW Health website today explained: "Until at least 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 December 2020 all residential aged care facilities across NSW must exclude visitors, except those performing essential caring functions.

"Until further notice all staff and visitors must wear a surgical mask whilst in a residential aged care facility.

"The sector will be advised of any updates after the current advice is reviewed on the morning of Wednesday 23 December 2020 as we further understand the pattern of the current outbreak."

NSW has recorded 15 new coronavirus cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

The locally acquired cases are all linked to the Avalon cluster, which now has 83 cases.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than 38,000 people had came forward for testing, and there were reports of "surges" in test numbers right across the state.

A raft of tough restrictions were introduced for the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney.

At this stage, restrictions except for those at nursing homes have not changed for regional NSW.

But authorities are keeping a close eye on the situation.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro urged people in regional NSW to stay calm, and asked anyone from the Northern Beaches who was visiting another area to "be mature, be understanding".

He said anyone with symptoms should stay away.

"Many from the Northern Beaches are already in the regions and we are asking you to self isolate," he said.

"We want people to take a level of responsibility."