Illawarra Newsroom

EXCLUSIVE: Wollongong hotel being used as part of COVID response

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It wasn't made public but with a police van parked in the driveway at the Belmore All-suite Hotel on Smith Street in Wollongong and questions being asked, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has confirmed that the complex is being used for COVID-19 community supported accommodation (CSA).

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery and Clinical Governance, Deborah Cameron said the Belmore has gone online to provide accommodation for close contacts and those awaiting COVID-19 test results who can't isolate at home.

"The impact of the Delta variant within households has been significant and many people simply cannot safely isolate at home.

"The District established safe, local accommodation for patients who do not need hospital treatment, but who need to be isolated away from other family members or household contacts," Cameron said.

As of Saturday, 25 residents were being accommodated at the Smith Street hotel.

Cameron said the facility currently has a capacity of 25 residents but the LHD is looking to expand the number to 34 in the coming weeks.

"The CSA does not currently provide accommodation for COVID-19 positive residents.

"In the event that someone staying at the CSA becomes a confirmed COVID-19 case, alternative accommodation will be organised," she said.

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Police have been assisting NSW Health at the Belmore All-suite Hotel since last Wednesday.

"From time-to-time the CSA facility may also be used to provide accommodation for those who require additional support to isolate to ensure their safety and that of the wider community.

"In these instances, the support of other agencies, such as the local police may be required," Cameron said.

Cameron said the CSA is supported by the District's Special Health Accommodation (SHA) facility at Bulli Hospital, which is for COVID positive patients who need some care and support but don't require higher level care in hospital.

A second SHA facility is scheduled to open in the Shoalhaven within the next seven days.

Images: Travis Winks