Queensland’s Chief Health Officer says she is investigating a “missing link” between the Melbourne trio and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster as the state records zero new coronavirus cases overnight.
- Dr Young says there’s a “missing link” between the Melbourne trio and the youth detention centre clusters
- The Chief Health Officer has defended granting a super yacht that had visited a hotspot an exemption
- Queensland has started manufacturing its own PPE
More than 8,000 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.
It comes as the state’s Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said early genome sequencing indicated the cluster of coronavirus cases at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre could be linked to one of the women who returned from Melbourne earlier this year.
“It looks like this cluster has the same viral strain as one of the young women who went down to Melbourne,” Dr Young said.
“I need more information, which is being done over the next 24 – 48 hours to be able to prove it.
“But at this stage, it does look like they could be linked.”
Health Minister Steven Miles said the theory was not yet proven.
“That strain, the B1125 strain, is the most common strain currently circulating in Victoria, therefore there could be other sources of that strain here,” Mr Miles said.
“Further genomic testing will be able to confirm if the two are indeed linked, we hope.”
Mr Miles said although no new cases was good news, Queensland still had a “long way to go before we know we have controlled this possible outbreak”.
Was a coronavirus case missed?
Dr Young said the case linking the two clusters had not yet been identified.
“We have the cluster related to that Melbourne Logan group, those five people, and we have the cluster related to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, 10 people, there’s a missing link between the two,” she said.
The cluster at the detention centre at Wacol began when a prison worker tested positive for coronavirus last week, prompting widespread testing and restrictions to be reimposed across the state.
There are a total of 10 cases linked to the outbreak, five of which were workers at the centre, while the other five cases were relatives and immediate contacts of workers.
Dr Young said it was too soon to rule out whether Queensland would see community transmission as a result of the outbreak.
“It is still a little bit early, though, to be seeing those community cases, so it is really important that everyone with any symptom at all come forward and gets tested,” she said.
She said it was important testing levels were ramped up to ensure every possible case of COVID-19 was found to stop the potential for another outbreak in the future.
“It’s still really important that anyone with any symptoms at all comes forward and gets tested.”
“We’ll need to continue those testing levels for the next week to just make sure that there isn’t a case that we’ve missed, because I’m beginning to think that is what has happened with this detention cluster.”
Equipment concerns dismissed
Dr Young rejected claims that general practitioners were experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“There is plenty out there, if they really can’t find it, they should contact their local PHN (Primary Healthcare Network),” Dr Young said.
“Queensland is now manufacturing its own PPE so there should be no problem with all those primary healthcare practitioners, whether they be GPs or pharmacists, accessing PPE.”
‘Arrogant and dangerous’ COVID breach
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man who told police he walked over the Queensland border after being refused entry into the state three times has been ordered to serve 200 hours of unpaid community service.
James Steven Nech pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a COVID-19 direction in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
The court heard he was refused entry back into Queensland on three occasions after visiting the Tweed area on August 20.
He was arrested on Monday after police found him at his Indooroopilly home.
Nech was fined $4,003 on the third attempt to re-enter Queensland and will be subject to a quarantine order once he is released from custody.
His defence lawyer told the court her client arranged for a general pass for the day and thought he would be able to return to Queensland, but when told he could not, he “panicked” and was now remorseful.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney said Nech’s conduct was “arrogant and dangerous”.
“There was a way to come back to Queensland lawfully and you chose not to do it, putting potentially the community at risk,” Magistrate Moloney said.
It comes after Queensland police checked a total of 68 flights carrying 3,199 passengers in the past 24 hours and a total of 14 people were refused entry.
At the road borders, 3,109 cars were checked and 107 people were refused entry, while 554 people were directed to quarantine.
The state currently has 18 active cases, leaving a total 1,106 cases.
Of the total 8,059 tests conducted in the last 24 hour period, 6,278 of those were conducted in the Great Brisbane region of concern related to the youth detention centre outbreak.
Brisbane club fined for health breach
A club in Brisbane’s east has been fined for breaching a COVID-19 public health direction at the weekend.
Police investigated reports of a large gathering of people at The Brisbane Portuguese Club in Pinkenba on Saturday night.
The club president was issued with $6,772 fine for failing to comply with the Chief Health Officer’s direction.
Investigations also established the club did not have a liquor licence, so a Liquor Infringement Notice and a separate $2,669 fine was also issued.