Queensland Covid cases grow as two clusters emerge

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Queensland has reported eight new cases of community-transmitted coronavirus, as Brisbane remains in lockdown.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday, six of the eight are close contacts of confirmed cases.

The other two, both community transmitted, are historical cases with the source yet to be confirmed.

“The good news is that these cases are linked and we now believe that there are two distinct clusters,” she said.

“So, we have a cluster linked, of course, to that PA (Princess Alexandra Hospital) doctor. And we have a second cluster linked to the PA nurse.”

Police officers patrol the Valley Mall in Brisbane as more than two million people in the city entered a three-day lockdown after a cluster of coronavirus cases was detected in Australia's third-biggest city.
Queensland Police patrol Fortitude Valley after Brisbane went into lockdown on Monday afternoon. Source: Getty Images

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said six cases are linked to two clusters while two others remain under investigation. In total, Queensland reported 10 cases including two people in hotel quarantine.

“The first cluster is related to that doctor at the PA Hospital who treated a confirmed case. And you would remember that she acquired it from a confirmed case in the hospital, and also that case had passed it on to another traveller in the hotel when they were in hotel quarantine," Dr Young said.

All those cases are connected based on genomic sequencing and are all the UK variant of Covid-19. Even though both are from the PA Hospital, Dr Young said the two clusters are "unrelated".

People are seen wearing face masks on the Queen Street Mall in the Brisbane CBD.
People wear masks in Queen Street Mall. Source: Getty Images

Dr Young said the second cluster is related to the nurse who tested positive after working at the PA Hospital.

“She has exactly the same genome - no snip is different - to a gentleman who arrived and was treated in the PA Hospital and was tested on March 22," Dr Young said.

"So, after the nurse worked in the Covid ward. She did do a shift on the night of March 23, so that shift started 10pm that night, she worked through the night into the next day on the 24th.

“So, my hypothesis - and this all has to be tested, this all has to be checked out, this is very preliminary information - is that she has acquired the infection when at work that night.”

However, tracers are unsure if the nurse contracted the virus from a patient or someone else in the hospital as she wasn't working in the Covid ward on March 23.

The nurse's sister is also sick and has the same strain and seven in total are connected to the PA Hospital nurse cluster.

People are seen doing their early morning exercise in Brisbane, Australia during lockdown.
People exercise at South Bank during lockdown. Source: Getty Images

Covid positive tradie 'attended hens party'

Dr Young said a case in the second cluster is a Gold Coast tradie who worked at a bachelorette party as "an entertainer".

“One of the positive cases in that second cluster attended the hen’s party as an entertainer. And he came back and he lives in the Gold Coast and he works as a tradie, and he did go to an aged care facility in the Gold Coast," she said.

"But every resident in that aged care facility has already been vaccinated, had their first dose. I haven't got confirmation about whether any have received their second dose."

The premier added the bachelorette party was at Byron Bay.

Will Queensland have more Covid-19 cases?

Ms Palaszczuk said the fact cases have been linked to clusters is "good news" but said the state will "probably" see more cases.

“The big question will be whether or not we see unlinked community transmission,” she said.

“So, it's a day-by-day proposition, but that is why this three-day lockdown is absolutely necessary. As Dr Young advised, so our contact tracers can get on top of this as quickly as possible.”

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