The principal of St Columba Anglican School (SCAS) Terry Muldoon says a member of the school community who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus did not travel overseas.
NSW Health has confirmed a 14-year-old female tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, March 19 and forced the local high school to shut down on Friday, March 20.
Mr Muldoon applauded the student's actions in self-isolating as soon as she started to show symptoms of the virus.
A meeting between Port Macquarie Base Hospital staff, NSW Health, NSW Education Department and SCAS took place on Friday, March 20.
The purpose of the meeting, Mr Muldoon said, was to establish a list of people who might have come into contact with the teenager.
Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said the district is contacting those people who have been close contacts of the girl and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact.
"These people will be contacted daily to check that they are well and any contact who develops COVID-19 symptoms will be tested for the infection," he said.
Mr Dowrick said COVID-19 clinic is now open at Port Macquarie Base Hospital between 10am and 4pm weekdays.
"This clinic is for those most at risk with respiratory symptoms or fever, those returning from overseas or in contact with a COVID-19 case, and local health workers," he said.
"People without symptoms do not need to be tested."
This afternoon another meeting between the relevant health and education stakeholders will establish how long the school will be closed for and the conditions under which the school might be able to reopen.
Mr Muldoon has received advice the cleaning at the school is in line with what is already deemed to be at the appropriate health standard for limiting any potential for exposure to the virus.
He said people can be reassured the school will only open to the community if it has passed all the appropriate health checks.
Mr Muldoon said he does not believe the school will be closed for an extended period of time, due to the quick actions of the 14-year-old to self-isolate as soon as she showed symptoms.
He said the school was lucky the student acted in this manner, to reduce any potential for the virus to spread.
If it is required to close past a couple of days, Mr Muldoon said the school community is prepared to put action in place to ensure education can be conducted remotely.
The school has been developing preventative measures for around three weeks.
Some students have already self-isolated from the school, due to illness not related to COVID-19.
The students have been able to tune into classes remotely through online means and Mr Muldoon said it's a process which appears to be working exceptionally well.
Mr Muldoon thanked the wider community for supporting the school's actions in addressing the first person to test positive for COVID-19.
Mr Dowrick said the district is asking everyone on the Mid North Coast to play a part in containing the spread of COVID-19 by washing their hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, maintaining social distance and staying home if they are unwell.
Visit the NSW Health website for more information.
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