Perfect one day, anxious about the next as we enter ‘crucial week’
A rapid response to the so-called Logan cluster has led to a weekend without any evidence it has spread beyond five cases, with Queensland recording no new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours.
Two 19-year-old women brought COVID-19 back from an ill-fated trip to Melbourne. One infected her sister, and one dined at a restaurant while contagious, infecting two strangers. A mammoth contact tracing effort led to various businesses being closed and aged care facilities in Brisbane’s south being placed into lockdown as a precaution.
One of the strangers worked at the Bolton Clarke aged care facility in Pinjarra Hills but Premier Annastacia Palazczuk today reported that all 105 residents at the centre had tested negative to COVID-19.
“In good news for Queensland overnight, there have been zero new cases,” Palaszczuk said, adding that the state tally remained at 1085 and the number of active cases had fallen to 12.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, who met with families at Pinjarra Hills, said the centre had been well-prepared for such a threat and “they have done the most fantastic job”.
However, Young remains concerned about the prospect of more cases in the cluster, and has sought to direct more resources into testing to bring the average turnaround time for results down from 37 hours to 24.
“The next week remains critical,” Young said, emphasising that the 19-year-olds had been contagious and in the community for eight days before the alarm was raised.
“We could still expect to see some ongoing cases so please everybody needs to be very, very careful.”
The cluster led to a record number of tests being conducted – across Queensland, more than 510,000 people have now been tested since the pandemic began – and Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the lack of positives was “exactly what I had hoped for”.
The only case reported in Queensland at the weekend was in a consular official returning from Afghanistan, via Sydney, to the Sunshine Coast. The man was exempt from hotel quarantine due to his position and drove home to Toowoomba, where he is now isolating at home with his wife.
Palaszczuk said Young would raise the issue with her interstate and federal counterparts in a meeting today and she would use National Cabinet to request the Morrison Government remove those exemptions.
“I don’t think the time is right now for those exemptions,” Palaszczuk said.
“I just don’t think we need to have any elements of risk now at the moment.”
Over the weekend, 11,494 air passengers were processed, 188 of those directed into hotel quarantine. On the roads, 11,710 vehicles were checked, with 208 people refused entry and 84 placed into quarantine. Several people with allegedly false border declarations were given notices to appear in court.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said that, in the coming days, there would be a “blitz on people in home quarantine”. That followed reports from interstate of people with COVID-19, or awaiting test results, being out in the community.