A COVID-19 cluster has emerged at Crown Street in Darlinghurst, with at least five people in an apartment block returning positive tests in the past week. 

The cluster comes after similar COVID-19 surges have been recorded in high-density inner-city housing, including social and Aboriginal housing estates in Redfern and Waterloo. 

Crown Street residents remain concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases, with one resident taking it upon himself to place signs across the shared facilities of the building, pleading with residents to get tested and otherwise stay inside their units.

News.com.au reported that residents have been told that “there’s nothing to worry about” from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) – Housing and NSW Health, despite growing cases in their building. It was also reported that an infected resident was told to “keep your mouth shut” in regards to the cluster.

Housing Vulnerable Residents

One of the residents, Tony, who said he was living with HIV, told News.com.au that there were “a lot of gay and lesbian people here, trans people and people with cancer, dementia and in wheelchairs and they tell us they don’t want us to ‘scare people’?”

The Crown Street apartment block houses multiple residents with compromised immune systems amplifying concern for the spread of COVID-19 in this block. 

“We know people in our communities have unique health issues and it’s important that mainstream service responses are attuned to these needs and provide care that is appropriate and dignified,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said. 

“We are available for assistance to people living with HIV and LGBTQ people impacted by COVID-19, including providing counselling and other psychosocial support, as well as referral support to other health and community services.” 

Parkhill urged the importance of complying with the COVID-19 guidelines. 

“It is vital that people comply with public health orders and continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as they can. This is particularly important for people who are vulnerable or have underlying health conditions.” 

Community Support

Member for Newtown Jenny Leong echoed Parkhill’s sentiment. “The current outbreak is very concerning, and the Premier and responsible Ministers should leave no stone unturned in ensuring that people have access to information, testing, vaccine and practical support,” Leong said.

“We urge everyone who can to turn up today and get vaccinated – you don’t even need to make an appointment if you live nearby.”

The cluster at the five-storey block on Crown Street, in close proximity to Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, is alleged to have begun last week, with cases mounting throughout the last seven days.

Residents are reported as often leaving their units to travel to other areas of the inner-city, usually taking public transport to do so.

The DCJ is also alleged to have not told any residents “to be quiet and not to worry”, rather encouraging tenants to be proactive about getting tested and vaccinated.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.



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