SA cluster grows with more cases possible

Tim Dornin
·3-min read

Adelaide's troubling coronavirus cluster has officially grown to 20 cases as South Australia reported five new infections on Tuesday.

One of those new cases has not been officially linked to the cluster, which mainly involves one extended family, with investigations continuing.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said health officials had also identified 14 other people who were considered at high risk of having the virus.

They have been tested and may have some symptoms and are all in quarantine as a precaution.

They are all considered close contacts of existing cases.

"This is a very, very worrying situation. I'm not going to underestimate the concern I have about this," Professor Spurrier said.

"If we all work together, we will get on top of it, but it is certainly early days."

She urged all people to carefully consider their movements and stay home whenever possible to help limit the spread of the virus.

She also advocated the increased use of masks for people moving about in the community.

Testing of the genetic material from the Parafield cluster has officially been linked to a medi-hotel in Adelaide, and was confirmed to have come from a person who returned from overseas on November 2.

The cluster has forced more than 4000 people into quarantine or home isolation, mostly close contacts of confirmed cases.

They are being contacted daily to check if they have any symptoms.

The cluster has forced the closure of five schools, while SA Health has released a long list of businesses, venues and public transport services that are of concern if people visited them at specific times.

Those people are not required to go into isolation, but just monitor themselves for symptoms.

More than 5000 tests were performed on Monday and more than 6000 on Tuesday, with long queues at all testing stations.

Some people were forced to wait for up to 12 hours to be swabbed with others turned away.

Prof Spurrier said the long waits for tests were a concern and efforts were being made to increase staff.

Some centres stayed open late and SA Pathology boss Tom Dodd said that would continue.

"Clearly, we need to have all those sites operating for longer hours going forward from today," Dr Dodd said.

"I apologise to anyone who queued for a long time and wasn't able to get a test. We don't want to have that happening.

"We need to ensure we stay open to swab all the people who present."

The cluster has prompted the SA government to reimpose a range of coronavirus restrictions.

From Tuesday, all gyms, recreation centres and play cafes were closed for two weeks with community sports fixtures and training cancelled.

Funerals and family gatherings were capped at 50 people, and all church gatherings at 100.

Pubs, clubs and restaurants were limited to 100 people along with all other public gatherings.

Premier Steven Marshall said it was important for everyone in South Australia to work together to beat the "very nasty" outbreak.

"Everyone must play their role in making sure we stop this disease in its tracks," he said.

"We have beaten clusters before and we will beat the cluster at Parafield, but we must do it together, working together, listening to the restrictions and getting ourselves tested as and when we need to."