Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Hospital staff in quarantine after COVID contact

AUTHORITIES believe the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster could be connected to the young women who visited Melbourne at the end of July and are searching for the “missing link”.

Queensland recorded no new cases overnight with testing numbers rising after a plea from the State Government for more people to front testing clinics.

A number of Ipswich Hospital staff have had to go into quarantine after a positive case was admitted to the emergency department last week.

More than 8000 tests were conducted over the last 24 hours with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying the next 10 days are “very critical” in the battle to stop the spread.

That figure is up from the 6800 tests done the day before and Ms Palaszczuk called on anyone with mild symptoms to get tested immediately.

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Queensland recorded one new case on Monday and two on Sunday.

The turnaround for test results is about 30 hours due to the large volume of tests being conducted.

The youth detention cluster is still at 10 cases with five staff members and five relatives of workers testing positive.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was “still a little bit early” to be seeing community transmitted cases.

“We’ve had no community cases (related to this cluster),” she said.

Dr Young said it is looking likely the new cluster is linked to the cases brought into Queensland from the three young women who visited Melbourne at the end of last month.

But it could not be confirmed with further information still needed.

Nurses conduct COVID-19 testing at a drive-through fever clinic in Ipswich on Tuesday.
Nurses conduct COVID-19 testing at a drive-through fever clinic in Ipswich on Tuesday.

“I’m beginning to think that is what has happened,” she said.
“We now have that early genome sequencing information.

“It looks like this cluster has the same viral strain as one of the young women who went down to Melbourne.

“I need more information which is being done over the next 24 to 48 hours to be able to prove it.

“We don’t have the case between the two clusters. There’s a missing link between the two.

“That’s why it’s so important that we do our absolute best to find every single case.

“The cases we don’t find are the ones that can lead to chains of transmission.

“I have been doing serology on all of these people who have been in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre to see if any of them might have had it and recovered and they could be that missing person.”

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A relative of a COVID-19 positive staff member from the youth detention centre, who later tested positive herself, was admitted to the Ipswich Hospital emergency department at 11pm on August 19 for a separate condition.

She left at 6.19am on August 20.

“We’ve had to contact trace all of the staff,” Dr Young said.

“She was admitted during her infectious period. Quite a few (hospital staff) had to go into quarantine.”

On Monday, Queensland Health announced all staff, patients and visitors at West Moreton Hospital and Health Services facilities will need to wear masks.

It also recommended a similar approach for other healthcare providers in the greater Brisbane area.

Dr Young recommended Ipswich residents carry a mask with them for use in situations where they cannot social distance.

For testing clinic locations visit here.

For current contact tracing alerts visit here.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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