48 cases: Genomic sequencing joins the dots in cluster
Genomic sequencing has connected 48 cases involved in one of Queensland's biggest coronavirus clusters, as authorities ease public health restrictions on the Gold Coast and Darling Downs.
But the so-called missing link with the Logan outbreak in July, started by two young women who allegedly lied about travelling to Melbourne, remains elusive.
The latest cluster of four dozen people across the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, Queensland Corrective Services Academy and the Ipswich Hospital, could be declared under control as early as next week if no new cases are reported outside of home quarantine.
Health Minister Steven Miles said yesterday the latest genome sequencing had found the cases to be closely related, as he announced no new Queensland infections of the virus.
He said restrictions on gatherings on the Gold Coast and Darling Downs would be loosened from 8am today, after more than a fortnight had passed without a case in either region.
"That includes the restrictions on gatherings," Mr Miles said.
"They'll now be able to have gatherings of up to 30."
Aged care home lockdowns and hospital visitor bans in both regions have also been lifted.
But visitor restrictions at nursing homes and hospitals, as well as limits of 10 people at private gatherings in Greater Brisbane, will continue to be enforced.
With Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young still concerned about the possibility of community transmission in the Ipswich region, Mr Miles said he was buoyed by an increase in the number of samples analysed for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the latest testing period.
In the 24 hours to yesterday, 6424 samples were tested for the virus in Queensland, back within the 5000 to 10,000 daily target health authorities hope to reach "to ensure that we aren't missing any community transmission".
Mr Miles pointed to Victoria to highlight how well Queensland had been in stomping out viral clusters and keeping people alive.
"More people lost their lives to COVID-19 in Victoria in the last 24 hours than have in the entire year here in Queensland," he said.
"Tragically, (there have been) eight deaths in Victoria in the past 24 hours compared to six in Queensland all up."
Queensland has recorded 1149 cases of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 since late January.
An 83-year-old man was the last Queenslander to have died from COVID-19 in April.
Originally published as 48 cases: Genomic sequencing joins the dots in cluster