News Queensland schools, university and hospital linked to cluster

Queensland schools, university and hospital linked to cluster

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Queenslanders are bracing for the possibility they will be locked down for the longest time since the start of the pandemic.

Millions of people in the southeast are already under snap stay-at-home orders as the Delta variant cluster grew to 18 on Sunday.

With a confirmed case having travelled from Brisbane to Rockhampton in central Queensland and working while unknowingly infectious, it won’t be surprising if more places other than just her workplace – Rockwood Weir – will need to shut, or if her colleagues also become unwell.

The infected woman returned to Brisbane on July 30 before she tested positive and some other workers at the construction site had already travelled back to their communities by the time they found out about her case.

The fact about 30 more venues of concern were added to the list on Sunday night shows that a large number of people were potentially exposed to COVID-19 across Brisbane suburbs.

Expect more cases to emerge on Monday.

Meanwhile, New South Wales has also identified more exposure sites linked to infected Sydney residents. They include a pharmacy, a doctor’s clinic, supermarkets and restaurants.

There continues to be concern about people flouting rules, with police to draw on the resources of the Army to perform checks on residents meant to be in isolation.

Victoria has not recorded a new exposure site since Saturday but did find four new coronavirus cases on Sunday – suggesting cases were isolating at home while infectious.

About 20 residents of a Richmond apartment building in Melbourne have been told to isolate for 14 days after they were potentially exposed to a case.

Below, we’ve wrapped up what we know so far about the situation for the states in lockdown on Monday.

Schools, university and hospitals exposed

Queensland authorities have continued to trace the movements of the 18 people who have so far tested positive in this outbreak.

A Brisbane high school student with COVID has been found to have the same strain as two hotel quarantine cases but authorities are still trying to find out how the student got infected.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young warned the cluster was “rapidly escalating” as investigations continued into how the virus spread from two returned travellers and into the community.

The venues listed as exposure sites on Sunday night were:

  • Royal Brisbane Hospital in Herston, including the Dr James Mayne Building Level 3 Coronary Care Unit, Pod 1 Western section, and seats outside CCU;
  • Ironside State School in St Lucia;
  • The University of Queensland in St Lucia, including specific rooms in Building 69 and the Abel Smith Lecture Theatre;
  • Coles in Moggill Shopping Village;
  • Bus route 28;
  • Bus stop waiting area of stop 5 in Spring Hill;
  • AcuHealth acupuncture clinic in Wilston;
  • Brisbane Grammar School (Boys) in Spring Hill;
  • Family Dental Clinic- West End in South Brisbane;
  • Esquire Male Grooming Barber in Milton;
  • That Viet Place in Sunnybank;
  • Southside Bistro in Sunnybank;
  • Outside School Hours Care at Ironside State School;
  • Ethos Orthodontics in Toowong;
  • Venues used in a Debating event at St Peters Lutheran College in Indooroopilly;
  • Studio 99 Fitness Centre in Milton;
  • Pacific Petroleum in Sunnybank;
  • Saigon Yummy in St Lucia;
  • Bupa Dental in Toowong;
  • Bus route 411in Spring Hill;
  • Various rooms at the Brisbane Girls Grammar school in Spring Hill.

The exposure periods are at specific times in the last few days of July.

Longer lockdown is possible

The local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim entered lockdown on Saturday afternoon.

The restrictions are the harshest the Sunshine State has seen.

Residents in affected areas can only leave home for essential work, study or child care, to exercise, buy food and supplies, and receive health care, including being tested for COVID-19 or vaccinated.

Non-essential travel must be within 10 kilometres of home and everyone must wear a mask.

All schools in the lockdown zone will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, while all staff and students of Indooroopilly High School and Ironside State School are in quarantine for two weeks.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said implored more Queenslanders to seek virus testing, with fewer than 12,000 tests conducted on Saturday.

Health authorities want to see at least 40,000 people tested each day.

With the coronavirus exposure list growing to over 80 and cases the highest they’ve been in a year, leaders and experts will be meeting to discuss the best course of action and whether lockdown would need to go further than Tuesday afternoon.

The Courier Mail in Brisbane reports that health and police sources said discussions were under way to potentially extend the lockdown by as much as two weeks.

Queensland infectious disease expert Associate Professor Paul Griffin told the paper “far wider transmission” of the virus should be expected.

“We’ve seen fairly ready transmission in a number of settings,” he said.

“There are many factors that determine if transmission occurs and how much … on the current trajectory and infections in the community (I think we can expect) an increase in cases at least for the next two to three days.”

Sydney exposure sites

New South Wales named the following locations among the new exposure sites:

  • Burwood – Chemist Warehouse Burwood;
  • Campsie – 36 Meat Mart, Ali Group Supermarket, Katsuya Japanese Restaurant;
  • Canley Heights – An Phat Supermarket;
  • Pemulwuy – Fully Tabooly Kebab Shop;
  • Rhodes – Myheath Medical Centre Rhodes;
  • Bankstown – Quantum Radiology;
  • Bondi Junction – Australia Post Bondi Junction;
  • Brookvale – Woolwoths Brookvale;
  • Eastwood – BWS Eastwood, Woolworths Eastwood;
  • Macquarie Park – Azakaze, Commonwealth Bank, Panetta Mercato, Priceline, Suncorp.

Australian Defence Force troops will join NSW police patrolling streets in Sydney’s west and southwest to ensure COVID-19 health orders are being observed in those areas where the virus is surging.

The 300 ADF troops will patrol and doorknock alongside police officers, to ensure people are complying with self-isolation and stay-at-home orders in the hotspots in eight Sydney local government areas.

The military support was requested by Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Thursday when NSW reported a record 239 COVID cases – a figure that was matched again on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sydney public transport services have been restored to a regular weekday timetable to avoid overcrowding as the construction industry resumes with some limitations, after a two-week hiatus.

Tradies from the eight worst affected local government areas in Sydney’s west and southwest are not allowed to work or leave their area.

People are still being advised to avoid public transport if possible but the Sunday schedule which had been in operation for the past fortnight has ended.

Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said half a million NSW residents could be vaccinated against COVID-19 every week.

The premier is hoping August will be a record month for vaccinations.