ALMOST 20 staff at a government department office in Armidale have been ordered into isolation after fears they were exposed to coronavirus at work.
The Leader can reveal at least 19 staff at the Armidale Community Services Centre have been forced to self-isolate while they nervously await COVID-19 test results.
It comes after two child protection workers tested positive to the potentially deadly virus, the latest on Friday. The first positive test was a week earlier.
On Monday, the Armidale office was shutdown for a thorough, specialist clean, a Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) spokeswoman said.
"DCJ is taking all necessary measures in accordance with NSW Health expert advice and guidance, including testing of staff who were in contact with the staff members who've tested positive," she said.
"It is expected that the office will re-open tomorrow, however, contingency staffing plans have been implemented and services continue to be delivered."
The situation will continue to be monitored by DCJ and NSW Health after 19 staff were taken to Armidale hospital for COVID-19 tests on Friday.
The Leader understands cleaning staff at the Armidale office and some family members of child protection workers were also being tested for coronavirus.
Clients will continue to have access to services and support both online and over the phone while the Jessie Street office is closed.
Hunter New England Health does not reveal the locations of COVID-19 cases, a spokeswoman said, but once a case is confirmed staff will work through a tracing process to identify close contacts.
"Anyone considered at risk will be contacted directly, close contacts if well, will be asked to self isolate," she said.
"If they are symptomatic, they will also be tested for COVID-19 and will be required to isolate.
"You can rest assured that anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts are either being treated in hospital or are in self-isolation to ensure there is no ongoing risk of infection to others in the community."
Hunter New England Health will notify the community of any public locations where there is a known potential risk of infection.
According to the latest round of testing - as at 8pm on Sunday - the Armidale Regional Council area still has between 1-4 confirmed cases.
The exact number is not released by health authorities, but Armidale had only one confirmed case of the virus late last week.
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