Public Health nurses Karen Drury, Rachel Waye and Yvonne Vickers at the Public Health Unit at Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin
Public Health nurses Karen Drury, Rachel Waye and Yvonne Vickers at the Public Health Unit at Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin

TIMELINE: What’s next for team of contact tracers

WITH a crack team of contact tracers essentially stopping local transmission and a well-behaved, mostly honest and vigilant community, can we return to handshakes and relax restrictions?

Not at this point.

"The processes are in place for a very good reason and there will come a time that things will change, but until that happens, people really need to be vigilant about their activities," Mackay Hospital and Health Service Public Health director Brigid Fenech said.

"And it comes back to, if the public health unit rings you tomorrow, are you proud of the responsibility you have taken in this?"

More than two million Australians signed up for the Federal Government's COVIDSafe app in the first 24 hours it went live.

The government's hope is that the app will expedite identifying virus outbreaks, thereby co-ordinating the health response to it with the view of easing social distance restrictions.

>>READ MORE: Mackay's heroes of the pandemic

Queenslanders are now, for the first time in more than a month, permitted to travel 50km from their homes for a recreational drive, have a picnic in the park with members of their households and take the boat out.

It is the first significant relaxation of restrictions the government hopes to continue as few to no new cases are confirmed across the state.

But the work of Mackay's contact tracers continues, regardless of tracking apps and relaxed restrictions.

The Mackay team is developing a series of frameworks and guidelines for the MHHS to identify possible outbreaks and respond to them accordingly.

"For example, our seasonal workers that are coming up into our area and mining communities," Ms Fenech said.

"There are all frameworks going in around those sorts of industries and participants in those industries to make sure they are kept safe and the communities they are working in are not exposed."

Public Health Nurse Terrianne Messina, Business Support Officer Jackie Atkins Environmental Health Officer Jacob Handley and Public Health Unit Director Brigid Fenech at Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin
Public Health Nurse Terrianne Messina, Business Support Officer Jackie Atkins Environmental Health Officer Jacob Handley and Public Health Unit Director Brigid Fenech at Mackay Base Hospital. Picture: Tony Martin

That includes looking at their travel history and living arrangements.

"Some of it is before (they arrive here), some of it is retrospectively," Ms Fenech said.

"We cover both bases because sometimes they come into the community far earlier than it starts, and then we've got to catch up with them.

"We're looking at specific issues to our community that we can assist with keeping the community safe and stopping the spread of transmissible disease.

Coronavirus timeline in Mackay

December 31, 2019: Cluster of cases reported in Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

January 29: Four Chinese nationals flown to Mackay from Wuhan closely monitored for any symptoms. Group connected to Aurizon coal haulage wagons built in China, delivered to Port of Mackay.

March 13: Man, 60, tests positive in Rockhampton - CQ's first case.

March 15: Infected UK tourist, 36, flies to Hamilton Island after being diagnosed in Sydney. Next day, she is quarantined in Mackay Base Hospital. Her travelling companion tests positive on March 20.

March 21: Flights to and from Mackay are slashed, all flights to Hamilton Island cut.

March 23: Pubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and sporting venues shut across Australia.

March 23: Health alert for Flight QF866 on which infected UK woman, 36, flew to Hamilton Island.

March 24: Two new cases confirmed in Mackay.

March 25: Community venues shut down, overseas travel banned, weddings and funerals limited.

March 26: MHHS's 5th confirmed case.

March 31: Sixth case confirmed

April 1: Seventh case confirmed

April 2: Four new cases confirmed, brings region's total to 11

April 3: Twelfth case confirmed.

April 7: Thirteenth case confirmed.

April 12: Fourteenth case confirmed

April 13: Fifteenth case confirmed



Law firm expecting claims of historical child abuse to rise

premium_icon Law firm expecting claims of historical child abuse to rise

A law firm is reaching out to Ipswich community groups.

Magistrate deems accused driver ‘unacceptable risk’

premium_icon Magistrate deems accused driver ‘unacceptable risk’

A P-Plater is charged with committing 10 speeding offences over a period of four...

Why Vinnies chose Ipswich suburb for new venture

premium_icon Why Vinnies chose Ipswich suburb for new venture

A regional executive says more than 2300 people required help from the organisation...