Elan ‘blockdown’ ends as most residents tested

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Kings Cross at night with (inset) an image of the Elan with everybody home under blockdown (from Potts Pointers Facebook page)

The discovery that one person in the 300-unit Elan block had tested postive prompted swift action by the high-rise community, writes Sue Williams in Domain.

The lockdown on a major Sydney apartment tower has been eased after a mass testing of almost the entire population of the block unearthed no more positive COVID-19 cases.

Now the 500-plus residents of the 40-storey Kings Cross building Elan are back under the same stay-at-home orders as the rest of Greater Sydney, with just the one infected person and five other close contacts all self-isolating.

“Pretty much everyone in the building got tested,” said the chair of the strata committee Dr Claire Hooper. “And no one, apart from the original person, was positive.

“It was an amazing effort from everyone and now everything’s back to normal – almost. Apart from that person and their close contacts, people can leave the building to shop for essentials and exercise, just like everyone else.”

The 280-apartment Elan, one of the city’s tallest towers, was alerted by the Department of Health on Thursday (24 June) afternoon that one of their residents was carrying the highly-infectious Delta variant.

At the same time, the café at the base of the building, Frankie’s Beans, was also advised that a coronavirus carrier had visited twice for coffee. The Tropicanna Café nearby in Darlinghurst was also named in the alert.

With fears that others in the tower would have perhaps caught the virus through casual contact either in the common areas like the lobby, lifts, lounge, gym and gardens of the complex, or through Frankie’s Beans itself, the whole Elan building was put into lockdown.

The café closed after a thorough deep clean and, since all the staff were being tested too, there was no one else left to run it.

“The Department of Health told us that we should all be considered casual contacts and go into isolation,” said Dr Claire Hooper, the chair of the building’s strata committee. “We asked people not to go in or out and stopped any delivery people coming into the building.”

“We had two concierge on last night until 10pm stopping people at the door,” said Dr Hooper. “We’re not letting anyone in who’s not a resident. Everyone’s been very good and are heeding the warnings.

“We have a lot of older people in the building, and happily some have had COVID jabs already. But in the next 24 hours, as the results of the tests come in, we’ll know what will happen next.”

The Elan building is believed to be the first apartment block in Sydney to be locked down after a complex of 100 townhouses in Melbourne’s Southbank were placed in lockdown for 14 days after residents tested positive.  

The emergency sparked calls from the strata industry for the Department of Health to issue public health orders streamlined for apartment residents, to address their special needs when so many communal facilities are shared and the dangers of the Delta variant being passed on are much more acute.

You can read the story in full HERE.

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