Qld records four cases as authorities encourage wearing masks

Queensland has recorded four new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as the Wacol Correctional Services Academy cluster continues to grow.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young confirmed on Sunday all of the new cases are close contacts of known cases linked to the cluster.

Three of those are from the same household in Forest Lakes, while the fourth case is a resident of Collingwood Park, who has also attended Staines Memorial College in Redbank Plains.


The school has been closed for deep cleaning, while contact tracing also gets underway.

“We do know they attend the Staines Memorial College, they attend that school and that school has alerted other students and families about the case and indeed it is associated with a church, so those people were told not to attend,” Dr Young said.

“There will be more work done today, that school of course will go through the usual cleaning, there will be contact tracing occurring, and until that can all be finalised, that school will be closed.

“So they have already started all that work and we will see how far that gets through today, as to whether it is able to open tomorrow or not.”

Dr Young said today’s cases prove why the state’s tough new limits on indoor and outdoor private gatherings are so important.

“That is why it is so important that household gatherings cannot be more than 10 people,” she said.

“We know that at this stage of an outbreak it is household transmission and transmission from one household to another household that is the key trigger for increased cases, we saw that very, very clearly down in Victoria.”

Health Authorities also warned that more cases in the coming days are almost inevitable.

“We have now had over 101 days of infectious people out in our community in the last 14 days. So that means there has been those 101 opportunities for people to get infected, so we know that we will see more cases,” Dr Young said.

“It is critical that people, if you have any symptoms at all, don’t think it is anything else. Because it is most likely to be COVID-19.”

In a bid to try and curb the spread of the virus in the community, Dr Young said now was a good time to start wearing a face mask in places where it is difficult to social distance.

“Over the last few days, I have been saying to people that this is the time to get out those flat surgical masks that you can now buy anywhere,” she said.

It is really time to start using them. If you can’t socially distance when you go to the shopping centre, use a mask. Try to always socially distance. That is far, far more effective. But if you can’t do it, use a mask.

“If you are in a taxi or a rideshare or on public transport, that is a time to wear a mask, because you can imagine we have all got our windows closed… it is a bit cold at the moment for Queensland, so we are sitting in a confined space, in a taxi or a rideshare or our own car, and if there is anyone who is not part of the household, who is in that car, really, think about using a mask to protect yourself and protect others.”

Dr Young said people should also try and continue working from home if possible.

“I know a lot of people are still very, very effectively working from home. That is excellent. If you can effectively work from home, then do that,” she said.

“If you can’t, there is nothing to stop you going to work. Go to work. We have all got our COVID-safe plans in a workplace. But if you are working from home, and it is working for you and your manager and your colleagues, then work from home.”

There are now 28 active cases across the whole state, including four here on the Gold Coast.

In the past 24 hours, 10,558 have been swabbed for the virus.

“I really want to thank everyone for going out and getting tested, and since we have had this latest cluster, we have now had 131,000 186 people who have come forward for testing,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“A big shout out to all those people, but remember, it is absolutely critical that if you have any symptoms, please go and get tested.”