The State Government has released a report into the COVID-19 outbreak at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor Hotel, with the investigation unable to determine how it began.
Six people connected to the hotel were infected with the highly contagious UK strain of the virus last month, sparking a snap three-day lockdown in Greater Brisbane.
One of those infected included a cleaner at the hotel, however, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the review team were “unable to determine the exact cause of that transmission”.
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“Despite following all precautions, it’s believed the cleaner most likely contracted the virus from contact with a contaminated surface – that’s one option,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The review found no evidence of a quarantine breach or that the hotel air-conditioning system transmitted the infection”.
The report detailed a number of recommendations, including increasing CCTV in quarantine hotels and limiting the number of times room doors are opened, with concerns about guests opening doors and potentially infecting corridors.
“The door to guest rooms is recognised as a potential high risk of opportunity for transmission of this virus,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Recommendations for minimisation of this risk include consideration of reducing the number of times staff attend guest rooms for delivery of meals, linen, cleaning supplies.”
The report also recommends guests wear masks when opening the door for any reason.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll also confirmed there was no evidence that any offences were committed.
“There was certainly no evidence of any purposeful quarantine breaches,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“There was no evidence to indicate that any of the guests from either rooms where infection emerged ever left their rooms without approval
“And there is no evidence to suggest direct person-to-person contact between any of the infected pairs at any stage, either in room or common areas.
“There is also no evidence to suggest the cleaner entered any room when she was not meant to, or had any direct contact with any infected person… She worked one day on January 2nd and had no contact with any of the people in room 702 and 711 and did not clean those rooms.”
Commissioner Carroll said the theory the virus may have spread through the hotel’s air-conditioning system has also been ruled out.
“The Grand Chancellor operates two independent air-conditioning systems and neither system shares air with any rooms… the rooms involved have different systems on opposite sides of the hotel.
“For these reasons, the air conditioning systems have been excluded as related to the infection.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said she has committed to implementing the seven key recommendations made in the report for improving training, procedures and hotel quarantine compliance.
“While we’ve successfully contained the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster, we’re determined to learn the lessons outlined in this report,” she said.
“The government accepts the report’s recommendations and we’ll work closely with Queensland Health and Queensland Police Service to implement them.
“Queensland’s hotel quarantine system works but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it even stronger.”
Ms D’Ath said it’s “especially important in light of the new, more infectious strains coming in from overseas that we seek further improvements to our hotel quarantine system.”
Queensland recorded just one new COVID-19 case today, a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
There are five cases still considered active in the state.
To view the report, click here.