Covid SA: Worrying detail as cluster grows with 5000 now isolated

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·4-min read

South Australia’s Covid-19 cluster has grown to 26 as the state’s chief health officer reveals there are scores of close contacts authorities have not been able to reach.

Nicola Spurrier told reporters on Saturday the Parafield cluster had grown by one.

“Pleasingly this is not an example of community transmission or something [that] has popped up out of the blue, but it is a close contact of a previous case and because we got onto this outbreak very, very early,” Dr Spurrier told reporters.

A woman walks her dogs after it was announced that restrictions in South Australia would be eased in Adelaide.
A woman takes her huskies for a walk in Adelaide. Source: Getty Images

“They were already in quarantine, and so they don't pose any risk at all to the community and he has been in quarantine since his partner tested positive, so it is definitely linked to the Parafield cluster.”

She added she expected to see more cases come from the cluster.

Dr Spurrier said 5400 contacts or close contacts of the cluster remained in quarantine, but the chief health officer did say there were “about 40 close contacts that we haven't been able to get hold of directly”.

However she said she was pleased with testing numbers.

“Normally on a good day we would be getting 2000 to 3000 people tested,” Dr Spurrier said.

“The labs have been able to crank up and get that turnaround of 19,000 tests.”

South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier announces restrictions being eased in South Australia.
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a Covid-19 cluster has grown to 26. Source: Getty Images, file

Dr Spurrier was also asked about whether people should continue wearing masks to which she replied: “Yes.”

“Masks are an easy thing to wear,” she said.

“It is not too much of an imposition and it means that we are just damping down any further risk of community transmission as we continue to do our work to contain this outbreak.

“We are not out of the woods yet."

On Friday, Premier Steven Marshall said the South Australia’s six-day lockdown was ending prematurely.

Mr Marshall revealed contact tracers were lied to.

“I will not let the disgraceful conduct of a single individual keep SA in these circuit breaker conditions one day longer than what is necessary,” he said.

“To say I am fuming is an understatement, we are absolutely livid with the actions of this individual and we will be looking very carefully at what consequences there is going to be.”

A medical officer asks for information at a Covid-19 testing centre at Blair Athol in Adelaide, Australia.
A resident goes for testing at Adelaide's Blair Athol drive-in clinic. Source: Getty Images

Investigations continue into pizza shop worker

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told reporters on Saturday an investigation was ongoing into the actions of the security guard who allegedly lied.

The man told authorities he had bought a pizza from Woodville Pizza Bar but had in fact been working there for several shifts, making him a close contact of a Peppers medi-hotel worker who also worked at the shop.

“I can say that the person who is currently in quarantine and who was the.. primary person of interest is a 36-year-old man,” he said.

The man, from Spain, is in Australia on a visa which expires mid-December.

“I can't elaborate any further in relation to the circumstances, this is obviously now an ongoing investigation,” he said.

People queuing at the Covid-19 Testing site at Parafield Airport in Adelaide, Australia.
People queue for testing at Parafield Airport earlier this week. Source: Getty Images

Comm Stevens added police wish to speak with two people.

He added it was “fair to say” had the man been “more upfront”, the lockdown would not have been reintroduced.

When asked if authorities acted too hastily on the man’s story, Comm Stevens said: “The best strategy is to act quickly on the best information available at a particular point in time.

“The concerns about the information provided by this individual arose as a result of a review of the circumstances and information that was at our disposal and as a result of that detectives went to speak to this person, which was when he made disclosures about the circumstances,” he said.

“So I think the actions in the first instance were appropriate.”

Comm Stevens said whether the man was deported at the end of his visa would be a decision for the immigration department.

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