A massive contact tracing, testing and quarantining operation is underway after an Ipswich resident tested positive to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Bundamba woman in her 70’s works at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre. She has been admitted to Ipswich Hospital and currently has minor symptoms.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the woman has indicated she had not travelled interstate or overseas and authorities have not yet identified any contact with a known or likely source.
“Late yesterday we began mobilising a massive effort in response to this case,” Dr Young said.
“The Department of Youth Justice has advised this staff member did not frequent the accommodation section of the centre but Queensland Health will test the 127 youth at the facility as well as identified staff as a precaution.
“We are working to determine whether there have been any visitors during that time period and whether there have been any residents who have moved in and out of the facility during that time.
“The facility has also been placed into lockdown.”
Dr Young said the Department of Youth Justice already has strong strategies in in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in youth detention centres, including:
- COVID-19 health checks for young people, performed by Queensland Health
- increased cleaning and sanitisation of all areas and equipment
- increased availability of hand sanitisers, anti-bacterial wipes and protective equipment
- extra staff training on hygiene, using protective equipment, and extra safety measures for any young person identified as high risk.
“I’m confident the Department of Youth Justice has good plans in place and together we can respond thoroughly to this potential issue,” Dr Young said.
“What we need now is for the community to again show its commitment to coming forward and being tested if any symptoms arise – especially if you live in the Ipswich area.
“Vigilance is key to keeping community transmission out of Queensland.
“While we are still determining where the virus may have been acquired, we are working closely with this patient to gather necessary information, including other places she may have visited whilst infectious.”
Dr Young urged people with symptoms to get tested, with expanded testing capacity at both the Ipswich and Gatton Hospital COVID clinics.
“We want people with symptoms to be tested fast and tested first,” Dr Young said.
“We know from our recent experience in and around Logan that a lot of people who came forward indicated they did not have any symptoms.
“I understand and appreciate their willingness to get tested.
“But please, if you don’t have symptoms, keep the path clear so we can test people who do first.”
Metro South HHS and West Moreton HHS have responded to today’s new case and yesterday’s public health alert by extending hours and testing capacity at Princess Alexandra Hospital, QEII Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Gatton Hospital.
A list of all testing locations is available on the Queensland Government website.
UPDATE – Close contact rows for flight VA962 from Brisbane to Sydney on 17 August 2020
NSW Health is currently in the process of contacting passengers who were seated in rows 25 to 29 on flight VA962 from Brisbane to Sydney on 17 August 2020. Anyone who was seated in these rows should immediately quarantine and if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested.
All other passengers are low risk. They should monitor their health and if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild, get tested.