Queensland has recorded a single new COVID-19 infection in hotel quarantine as it investigates limiting the number of hospitals treating positive cases to prevent virus spread.
Two clusters that triggered a lockdown of more than two million people have been independently linked to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital staff, with patients now having been moved from its infectious disease ward.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the outbreaks were not linked to breaches in infection control by individual staff.
“We’ve seen two different individuals coming in as positive cases at different times, infecting two health workers each,” she said on Sunday.
“There is a view that this is about the environment and that is why the deep clean has occurred.”
Instead of having COVID-positive cases in different hospitals around the city, Ms D’Ath is looking at a single, dedicated area, potentially at The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
“We believe that will reduce the risk and help with our resources as far as our health workers and making sure that it’s only health workers who are vaccinated also working with the staff,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We’re not suggesting it’ll be one single hospital across the whole state because we’ll still be using others outside the Brisbane area.”
Authorities are investigating bed numbers and services that would be required to consolidate COVID cases.
Queensland currently has 72 active cases and Ms D’Ath said she felt positive about progress following the lockdown, given the high testing numbers and low rates of community transmission.
“This is all part of our plan with the three-day-lockdown, to ensure that we can get enough people out there tested, identify the close contacts and get them into quarantine,” she said.
There has been a significant increase in the number of patients being treated in the state’s hospitals over the past six weeks, with the majority catching the virus overseas.