Quarantine mix-up behind COVID alert
A misunderstanding about home quarantine has triggered renewed concern about community transmission of the pandemic virus in the Ipswich region.
The Courier-Mail understands a man attended a Redbank Plains fast food restaurant last week while unknowingly infectious with coronavirus.
Although he was meant to be in quarantine at home for 14 days as a close contact of a confirmed case, he wrongly thought he was cleared to leave after obtaining a negative result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
He spent five hours from 8pm last Tuesday at Redbank Plains' Town Square Shopping Centre Hungry Jack's and tested positive to the virus in a subsequent test.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has urged people living in the Redbank Plains, Redbank and Goodna areas to be particularly alert if they start to feel unwell, given the case.
"We have had an individual who was out … and could have infected people in the last 14 days," she said.
"I'm concerned about it, some ongoing risk of transmission, particularly around the Ipswich area."
In response to Dr Young's concerns, the Queensland Ambulance Service has stood up a fever clinic at the Westminster Warriors Soccer Club, off Moreton Ave, Redbank Plains.
Despite Queensland recording its second day in a row of no new cases, Dr Young said "it's still too early to relax".
Of 30 active cases of COVID-19 in Queensland, 24 are from the West Moreton and Metro South regions - the epicentre of Queensland's latest cluster of 48 people.
Dr Young said every decision she had made during the pandemic had been "based purely on the health outcomes".
"It is really important that we minimise the number of people who get this disease, not just the number of people who are going to die from it," she said.
"That's why we have the very strict protocols that we have in Queensland for quarantine. This is about people not getting this disease.
"It affects every single cell in the body and leaves long-lasting problems for different organs in the body whether that be the heart, the kidneys, the brain, the lungs.
"We're seeing more and more people who get this infection don't fully recover."
Dr Young said people with the virus could also transmit the infection up to 72 hours before they developed symptoms.
"It's that person in the street, who is totally, totally well, if you spend more than 15 minutes close by with them you could end up getting infected," she said.
"We've seen that in NSW on public transport, which is why I've put out that message - if you can't socially distance it is time to wear a mask."
Health Minister Steven Miles said that in the latest testing period, just 2934 Queensland samples were analysed for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 - well below the goal of 5000 to 10,000 tests a day.
"While we have zero cases overnight here in Queensland, the World Health Organisation has confirmed that globally in the last 24-hour period, we had more new cases of COVID-19 than on any other day throughout this pandemic," Mr Miles said.
"This thing isn't over. In fact, it hasn't even peaked yet. While sometimes it might feel like it's passed here in Queensland because we've done so well, we need to remember that globally, this pandemic is still getting worse, more people are still dying.
"Israel, for example, in a bid to deal with their second wave, have gone back into lockdown. Their residents will only be able to move within 500m of their homes for the next three weeks underlying just what could happen if we were to experience a second wave here in Queensland. That's precisely why we need to keep this virus out."
Originally published as Quarantine mix-up behind COVID alert