A Gold Coast man who recently left hotel quarantine has become the latest local COVID case in Queensland.
The man in his 40’s, who is fully vaccinated, recently arrived from China and spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.
He tested negative on his exit test before returning to his home on the Gold Coast on July 12.
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He and his family became unwell on July 13 before seeing their GP for a test, which has since returned a positive result. So far his family have tested negative.
It’s understood his first test showed a low virus load and he was placed in self-isolation as a precaution. A second test, conducted more recently, showed a much higher load indicating he had grown more infectious.
“His first test had a very, very high CT value, which means there was very little virus there, so little virus that we couldn’t even do genome sequencing on it,” Dr Young said.
“That suggests that he was very, very early in his disease or very late in his disease, or it was persistent shedding.
“That is why we did further testing.
“His second test, while he has been in quarantine, has come with a higher amount of virus.
“That means he is entering his disease. So it is early on and he is progressing. So it should be low risk.
“But, look, we don’t know. He is fully vaccinated and we still don’t fully understand what that means in terms of the time it takes to become infectious and what it does about the viral load.
“So there are so many unknowns here.”
Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said they were still trying to determine how the man had acquired the virus.
“I’m not sure of the acquisition of this case,” she said.
“It could have been in China, it could have been in hotel quarantine or, indeed, it could have been in the community down in the Gold Coast.”
Queensland Health is expecting results from genome sequencing later today to help determine the source of the infection.
Late on Sunday night, Queensland Health released a lengthy list of exposure sites linked to this man.
They include major shopping centres Pacific Fair, Westfield Helensvale, Harbour Town and Q Super Centre.
See the full list of up to date exposure sites here.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said it was vital Queenslanders kept a close eye on the list of exposure sites.
“I’d encourage anyone who either lives or has travelled around Brisbane or the Gold Coast in the past couple of weeks to be regularly checking the Queensland COVID website for exposure sites,” Minister D’Ath said.
“If you have been to any of those exposure sites you must quarantine, get tested, and contact Queensland Health and follow further advice.”
So far, no further restrictions have been confirmed for the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
“I have still got to see what is going on out in the community,” Dr Young said.
“It’s too early to say that we won’t get cases. We need to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Queensland Police have confirmed they are still investigating the man who escaped lockdown in Sydney and travelled to Queensland and the flight attendant who drove him from Ballina over the border.
Both have been out in the community while infectious.
“We know they are associates and obviously know each other,” Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.
“We are focusing on who they have had contact tracing with, so the work we have been doing over the preceding days is to get as much information out of those people as we possibly can.”
“We had to go through a formal process to give directed interview for the flight attendant so we could get that information. So we have undertaken that and we are now doing that with the male person.
“Some of that information has not been correct and that has been proven through the contact tracing, we will continue to work through that.
“There are potential offences committed by both in relation to breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions, which we are investigating and also we are working with our New South Wales colleagues in terms of what has happened in New South Wales.”