News More than 200 staff in quarantine as another Qld health worker tests among new virus cases

More than 200 staff in quarantine as another Qld health worker tests among new virus cases

Ipswich Hospital
Another health worker linked to a southwest Queensland hospital is among two new COVID-19 cases recorded by the state overnight. Photo: ABC News
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Another health worker linked to a Queensland hospital is among two new cases recorded in the Sunshine State.

More than 200 Queensland hospital staff remain in COVID-19 isolation as virus clusters linked to two quarantine dodging teens continue to grow.

Outbreaks in two Corrective Services facilities near Brisbane have now infected 85 people.

A woman in her 30s has become the fifth case linked with infected patients at Ipswich Hospital while another woman, aged in her 20s, is linked to a household of a known cases.

Queensland Health director-general John Wakefield said emergency department staff at Ipswich Hospital were now back at work.

However, non-urgent elective surgeries had been impacted, he said.

Private hospitals will be offering elective surgery for those patients whose procedures have been cancelled.

“For every patient whose procedure has been delayed we’ll work with them to decide what they want to do,” Dr Wakefield said on Monday.

Both new cases are part of the outbreaks at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Queensland Corrective Services training centre.

Testing previously found it was likely the clusters were linked to three women who lied on their border declarations after returning from Victoria in July.

The number of active cases is at 25 and comes as the state government prepares to roll out a controversial testing scheme at chemists.

Health Minister Steven Miles has dismissed claims allowing pharmacies to conduct COVID-19 testing will lead to further outbreaks.

“We wouldn’t be trialling anything if we didn’t think it was safe,” he told reporters Monday.

The point was not to promote pharmacies as testing sites but to take advantage of their position to “opportunistically” test people who come in displaying coronavirus symptoms, he said.

“These are people going into pharmacy for treatment we know are symptoms of COVID-19 and not getting tested right now.”

Almost one million Queenslanders have been tested for coronavirus since the pandemic began, with more than 960,000 people being swabbed so far.

The cluster at the detention centre at Wacol began when a prison worker tested positive for coronavirus in August.

It led to a second cluster at the nearby Correctional Services Training Academy when a senior trainer became infected.

Some of the staff potentially exposed at the centre also worked at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

Southeast Queensland prisons went into lockdown 10 days ago as a result, with 7000 prisoners confined to their cells.

Riots have since broken out at two facilities.