The Gold Coast is again on COVID-19 alert after an infected traveller from New South Wales spent time in the community.
The man was identified as a close contact of a positive case in Sydney and underwent a COVID-19 test on July 12.
He returned a positive result that day, but an error by the private testing lab in NSW that processed the result saw the man receive a text message saying he had tested negative.
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However, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeantte Young said the man still breached the state’s lockdown and quarantine laws by flying from Sydney to Ballina two days later, on July 14.
“He should have remained in quarantine because you’ve got that 14 days incubation,” Dr Young said.
She confirmed authorities became aware of the man’s movements while interviewing the Qantas flight attendant who tested positive to the Delta variant on Thursday.
The woman is now believed to have caught the virus off the man after picking him up from the airport, meaning she was not infectious when she crewed several flights to regional Queensland towns on July 11 and 12.
“We became aware of him here because he was a close contact of that flight crew member, and the police located him and placed him into hotel quarantine here in Queensland on the 21st, and we tested him and that result came back positive late yesterday,” Dr Young said.
“Our understanding, and this is all being investigated, is the Qantas flight crew member went down to Ballina, which was legal and fine, on the 14th and picked him up.
“Now of course it was illegal for him to have left Sydney and travelled to Ballina, but the fact she went down and picked him up, she was able to do that at that stage, the border was not closed.”
Dr Young said the pair spent time in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast while infectious, with contact tracers now frantically working to pinpoint exactly where the duo have been.
“It is clear now those two people have been out and about in Brisbane and the Gold Coast since the 14th of July,” she said.
“So I ask anyone in Brisbane or the Gold Coast who has any symptoms at all, it’s critical you come forward to get tested as I’m not sure where those two have been during their infectious periods”.
At this stage, only Koi Broadbeach and Dreamworld have been listed as exposure sites on the Gold Coast.
Acting Premier Steven Miles said it was critical residents remained on high alert for symptoms of the virus.
“Both positive cases were active in and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” he said
“It underlines that the risk in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in particular, remains very, very real.”
As the man was tested in New South Wales, the case has been added to the southern state’s COVID-19 numbers today.
Queensland recorded five other cases in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active infections across the state to 26.