Outbreak spreads as Queensland hospital worker infects brother

·Associate News Editor
·3-min read

The brother of a Queensland woman who tested positive for the highly-infectious Covid-19 Delta variant has also contracted the virus.

He was one of three new locally acquired coronavirus cases announced by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday.

Another of the new cases is a close contact of the Portuguese restaurant cluster. The third is a close contact of the Virgin crew member who tested positive on the weekend.

Large parts of the state's southeast was plunged into a three-day, snap lockdown on Tuesday after the emergence of a 19-year-old's case as one of two new local cases.

The 19-year-old receptionist at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane travelled to the state's north with her family prompting authorities to also lock down Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island. She was infectious in the community for 10 days before being tested.

Her brother has now also tested positive. There is also one new case in hotel quarantine.

"That's why this lockdown is so important, what we do over the next three days can make all the difference of what we do over the next 30 days," Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'ath said.

Ms D'Ath said the lockdown was needed because Delta "was a whole other level" to previous Covid-19 variants.

Testing centres are expected to be at their limits in Queensland's southeast on Wednesday. Source: AAP
Testing centres are expected to be at their limits in Queensland's southeast on Wednesday. Source: AAP

Investigations into unvaccinated worker's role

The 19-year-old wasn't vaccinated despite working at a desk outside the Covid ward at the hospital.

The minister said the vaccines are mandatory for all staff inside coronavirus wards, but there were "grey areas" in the health orders.

Ms D'Ath said the woman had been offered a vaccine, but hadn't had any doses.

"Look, I'm not aware that she's refused it, I think she just didn't take the option up," she said.

"Everyone in health has been offered to go and get vaccinated."

The minister said the woman shouldn't have been posted outside the Covid-19 ward without being vaccinated.

She said she was investigating who was responsible the situation.

"I'm asking that question: who made the decision to put someone who was unvaccinated into that position in that hospital," Ms D'Ath said.

Covid testing ramped up in Queensland

Meanwhile, the government has ramped up testing capacity and more vaccination centres are being opened across the southeast and in Townsville.

Ms D'Ath warned there will be long lines and Queensland Health staff are already stretched.

She also foreshadowed that Pfizer vaccine supplies were limited at the moment.

"I just want to be clear, on average, we've got about 14 to 15 days of supply on hand, that's it," the minister said.

"So we can fast track that, but it will run out. And we also have to make sure we've got enough now to do the second vaccination."

Thousands of people from the southeast are believed to be in other parts of the state after fleeing before the lockdown came in at 6pm on Tuesday.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said all those people would have to wear masks, no matter where they were, until restrictions were lifted.

With AAP

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