COVID-19: Nine new Bunbury cases related to Kemerton lithium plant as second exposure site is added

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Mark McGowan has confirmed nine new Bunbury cases are all linked to a Kemerton lithium plant.
Camera IconMark McGowan has confirmed nine new Bunbury cases are all linked to a Kemerton lithium plant. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Bunbury has recorded nine new COVID cases stemming from a cluster at a lithium plant in Kemerton, while a popular pub has been added to a growing list of South West exposure sites.

The latest figure takes the total number of cases in the city to 17 since its first case in nearly two years was confirmed on Monday, with all cases related to Albemarle’s lithium plant.

Just one positive case was confirmed on Monday, before another seven —including six from one family — were revealed on Tuesday.

The Treendale Farm Hotel has been added to the State’s growing list of exposure sites.

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Treendale Farm Hotel won Best Regional Project.
Camera IconTreendale Farm Hotel. Credit: Master Builders WA

Anyone who was at the venue between 5pm and 6.30pm on Thursday January 20 must get tested immediately and isolate until they have received a negative test, unless directly advised otherwise by the Department of Health.

Jo’s Curry House on Wittenoom Street in the heart of the Bunbury CBD, was confirmed as an exposure site on Monday and has closed its doors.

Jo's Curry House on Wittenoom Street in Bunbury.
Camera IconJo's Curry House on Wittenoom Street in Bunbury. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

Anyone who has at the restaurant between 5.45pm and 8pm on the same day are required to get an urgent test.

Premier Mark McGowan confirmed all 15 of the positive cases at Albemarle’s 90ha plant relate to a single contractor and the affected work area has been shut down.

He said 99 close or casual contacts had been identified so far, all of whom were now isolating, and 73 had already returned negative PCR results.

“There are around 30 contractors on site, but one contractor and one work area in particular have been affected,” Mr McGowan said.

“The affected area has been closed down and all the close contacts in the same work unit have been requested to get tested and isolate.

“The nine (cases) overnight relate to Albemarle in one way or another and everyone who works on site is vaccinated.”

Premier Mark McGowan speaking at Dumas House this afternoon.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan speaking at Dumas House this afternoon. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

The City of Bunbury also reinforced in a statement on Tuesday that masks would be required indoors at a number of its facilities, including the South West Sports Centre, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery and the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre.

“The City of Bunbury acknowledges the ongoing COVID-19 situation and the State Government mandates in place are causing some frustration and uncertainty within the community,” the statement read.

“However, we ask that our community remains patient during these uncertain times as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

“With the health and safety of our community and City staff a priority, it is hoped taking this practical approach will minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our community and provide a safe workplace for staff at high exposure facilities.”

The State recorded 24 cases in total on Wednesday as thousands prepared to gather for Perth’s Skyworks Australia Day celebrations.

The remaining 15 cases were from Perth and include one mystery case, not linked to any known outbreak.

The Shire of Cunderdin, east of Northam, took to Facebook to confirm a positive test in the Wheatbelt community.

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