No CCTV for Qld hotel cluster probe

Marty Silk
·3-min read

Two Queensland quarantine hotels, including a Brisbane facility at the centre of a coronavirus cluster, don't have enough CCTV cameras, police say.

The Hotel Grand Chancellor was shut on Wednesday after six people linked to the quarantine facility tested positive for the highly contagious UK strain of COVID-19.

Police investigating how the virus jumped between four guests and a cleaner on the hotel's seventh floor last week have found there were no CCTV cameras on that particular level at the time.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has ordered a full audit of CCTV cameras at all quarantine hotels, which has already discovered another facility doesn't have enough cameras.

"I've asked for an audit of all quarantine hotels in terms of their CCTV footage," she said.

"And what we will do is ... if we find that there is any gap in that whole process, that we ourselves make sure that we put CCTV footage into those hotels, and that has already commenced at two of the hotels."

Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Friday afternoon fragments of COVID-19 had been found in sewage at seven more sites across southeast Queensland in samples taken this week.

"This does not mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, but we are treating these detections with absolute caution, especially considering the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster," Dr Young said.

The fragments have been detected at wastewater treatment plants at Gibson Island (South Brisbane), Luggage Point (North Brisbane), Pimpama, Coombabah, Capalaba, Loganholme and Wynnum.

"A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus," she said.

"Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious."

Dr Young earlier denied there was a breach of quarantine rules at the Grand Chancellor when a woman accompanied her father, who had the UK strain of the virus, to hospital on New Year's Day.

She said the woman wore PPE at all times and was treated by Queensland Ambulance Service and hospital staff as if she was a positive case.

"We didn't get a positive result on him till the next day but it doesn't matter because he went via ambulance to the hospital, was assessed there, was treated as if he was positive, was kept because he needed to because of the symptoms that he had," Dr Young told reporters.

"Now, his English is not great, so the daughter went with him, but she was treated as if she was positive, so they were managed in negative pressure rooms etc etc.

"So there's no risk and all of the transport was done via QAS, and that is QAS's job, and they do (it) very, very effectively.

"They move infectious people, not just COVID but other infectious people, so there's no issue here at all."

Queenslanders among the 147 people who stayed at the Grand Chancellor after December 30 have all tested negative for the virus.

The 226 staff who worked at the hotel after that date are also in the process of being tested but so far none have tested positive.

Dr Young said along with extensive community testing in Brisbane, there's no evidence of any further spread beyond the current six cases.

There are three new virus cases in Queensland, including two men who came from the Philippines and the US, and are in hotel quarantine.

The third is a man who arrived from the Congo and lives in north Cairns but tested negative before leaving quarantine in September.

Dr Young said he's asymptomatic and likely shedding the virus, which will explain traces of COVID-19 turning up wastewater in the area over the past few months.

"I'm very confident that that will be a historical case and not infectious," she added.