Premier's hospital concern as state records six new cases

 

Queensland authorities are ramping up their COVID-19 tracing efforts after a second case of community transmission was detected in the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the new case today, linked to a Stafford man who received a positive result yesterday.

The new case is a man who lives in Strathpine, a friend of a 26-year-old Stafford man who is believed to have been infectious in the community since last Friday, and has been linked to a previous case involving a doctor working at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane's inner south.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said 18 close contacts of the man had been identified so far.

"We are talking to him at the moment to find where he has been so we can let the community know," she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the next two days would be crirital.

"We would like to rule out every single possibility here; the sooner that everyone does this (get tested), the better we will be," she said.

Authorities expressed concerns for people who had attended Westfield Carindale shopping centre at the same time as the man.

He visited the centre between midday and 2.16pm last Saturday, March 20.

The man has the UK variant of COVID-19, which is considered more contagious.

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirms there has been a second locally acquired case of COVID-19. Picture: Richard Walker
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirms there has been a second locally acquired case of COVID-19. Picture: Richard Walker

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said two new coronavirus testing facilities would be opened at Brisbane's Eight Mile Plains and Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Ms Palaszczuk also revealed she had written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to halve the number of overseas arrivals into Queensland.

"Basically, every day over the last fortnight, we have been seeing five or six cases," she said.

"We're almost at the capacity of our hospitals that we were at the peak of the pandemic.

"That is not to say our hospitals cannot cope; they will be able to cope, but this is a large influx that we are seeing, and the high rate of people coming back are returned travellers (testing) positive."

Ms D'Ath said the most high-risk locations were cafes and restaurants that the new cases had attended.

"What we do know is that cafes and restaurants are higher risk, people are sitting there for a period of time, what we have lent the last 24 hours is that this gentleman had been at the restaurant for almost three hours," she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young. Picture: Richard Walker
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young. Picture: Richard Walker

The case of the 26-year-old man has been linked to a previous case involving a doctor working at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane's inner south.

The man has the UK variant of COVID-19, which is considered more dangerous.

Authorities are searching for the 'unidentified' intermediary' and fear the man was infectious in the community for one week.

He had visited several locations across Brisbane, including a Westfield shopping centre in the city's east.

The state now has 71 active cases of coronavirus across the state.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Queensland needed to be measured and proportionate in its response to new coronavirus cases.

"The economic recovery we're seeing in Australia now is leading the world and we want to keep that happening, and we don't want to prevent that from happening by any possible disproportional or overreaction response," Mr Morrison said at a press conference in New South Wales.

"The Queensland Government's got this, they've got a strong tracing system, they've got a very strong public health system there in Queensland I have a lot of faith in that.

"I spoke to the Chief Medical Officer about this yesterday, he shares my confidence."



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