Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Ipswich woman in her 70s tests positive for COVID-19

AN Ipswich woman in her 70s who works as a supervisor at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

The woman, who is now in Ipswich Hospital in a stable condition with minor symptoms, worked five shifts while infectious at the Wacol facility.

She is the only new coronavirus case in Queensland today with eight active cases across the state.

The centre is in lockdown and its 127 residents are being tested with about 520 staff working at the centre.

It is believed the Bundamba woman has only had contact with a “very small number of young people” at the centre since falling sick.

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No visitors had been allowed at the facility between July 27 and August 17 as a precaution after two young women tested positive to COVID-19 after returning from a trip to Melbourne.

“That’s a whole lot of contact tracing that does not have to happen,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“She lives in the Ipswich region and the contact tracing is now happening because she worked at the youth detention centre at Wacol.

“We have a very strong management plan in place for events like this and those plans are now being activated with the staff of the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and also with Queensland Health.

“We will be speaking to her close contacts, with her family members to try and identify a connection of where it has come from.”

Queensland's Chief Health office Dr Jeannette Young.
Queensland's Chief Health office Dr Jeannette Young.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said it is believed the woman developed symptoms on August 10, although that is still being clarified.

A positive test result came back late Wednesday night.

“We’ll be going through whether there’s been any visitors during that time period and whether of course there have been any residents who have moved in and out of that facility during that time to test them,” she said.

“At this stage we’re not aware of any venues she’s been (connected to) those young women who went down to Melbourne, that cluster of five, have been to during the period.

“She was infectious for five shifts.”

Department of Youth Justice Director-General Bob Gee said the facility was prepared for such a situation and has dealt with infectious diseases before.

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“We’ve been practising and we’ve been workshopping and of course testing our systems since COVID first came to light,” he said.

“I’m very confident we’re doing everything we can to make sure all of the staff, all of the young people, visitors, families and friends are supported.”

Mr Gee said personal protective equipment has been issued to staff and residents and urged anyone thinking of visiting the centre to reconsider.

Of the 127 residents at the facility, 110 are male and 17 are female with ages ranging from 13 and up.

“Advice I have initially is that (the positive woman’s) contact is limited to only a very small number of young people,” he said.

“She has not worked working through the accommodation section, she’s worked in the operations centre.”

Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding.
Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding.

Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding said the new positive case is “concerning” and asked the community to continue following the advice of health authorities.

Anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, is urged to get tested and to stay home until a result is returned.

“I urge the community to remain calm and follow the health directives,” she said.

“We will continue to be guided by Queensland Health and the State Government. Please take the advice of the relevant health authorities.

“We have been through this before and shown our community strength in doing the right thing, including testing, social distancing and isolating if you feel unwell.

“I urge Ipswich residents to do the right thing and protect our family, friends and our communities.

“We all need to take appropriate measures. Please wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home if you are unwell, and we will get through this together.”

Cr Harding said the council would be discussing next steps with the government through the Local Disaster Management Group.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.

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