Shock data shows true spread of COVID on the Gold Coast

A new study has revealed the true extent of the COVID-19 crisis on the Gold Coast, with the Chief Health Officer admitting the virus was “much more widespread” than originally thought.

CHO Dr John Gerrard released new household survey data on Thursday morning, which showed an alarming number of people on the Gold Coast who were unaware they were infected with COVID-19.

The Australia-first study, which was conducted by the Gold Coast Public Health Unit and local universities, saw 260 people randomly tested at their homes on the Coast after being door-knocked by staff over the last two weekends.


On Saturday the 22nd of January, 117 households were randomly visited and a PCR test was performed on one person in the home. Of those, 20 people came back positive.

“That’s one in six people on that one day,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Only four of the 20 people reported having any symptoms.

“So, four out of five people who tested positive did not report having any symptoms on that particular occasion,” he added.

“If this is generalisable .. there were people walking the Gold Coast who had no idea that they had COVID-19.

Only two people who returned a positive result were aware they were infected with the virus after going out and getting tested.

“So 18 out of 20, or nine out of ten, were completely unaware they were positive,” Dr Gerrard said.

“This was probably at the peak of the pandemic.”

The whole survey procedure was repeated the following Saturday, the 29th of January, with 143 people tested and 11 positive results returned.

“This time six of the 11 reported having symptoms, so that’s a little different from the first time,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Two of those 11 were aware that they were positive.

“So nine out of 11 on this second survey did not know they were positive.

“This indicates that the pandemic peak has passed but also a lot of people that have been infected are completely unaware that are infected and certainly have not been tested.

“Clearly the virus is much more widespread than the collected data has suggested.”

This data will now be shared nationally to help official work out how the pandemic is tracking.

“We are trying to work out what proportion of the population has actually been infected and what degree of immunity that has created in the community and what will happen in the future in terms of whether there will be further waves,” Dr Gerrard said.

“We still don’t know exactly the total number of people on the Gold Coast and in Queensland that have been infected with the virus.

“It’s likely to be at least a third of the population of Queensland infected by the end of this month .. but there will be further work done on this in the coming weeks both locally and nationally.

The Chief Health Officer said they were still planning for further waves.

“I think we still have to plan for the worst,” Dr Gerrard said.

“We are particularly concerned about winter.

“We are not going to have the opportunity of seeing what’s happening in the northern hemisphere in advance as further waves might occur because the southern hemisphere will enter winter first .. after this Omicron wave.”

In the last 24-hour reporting period, Queensland has recorded another 8,643 cases and nine deaths.

Of the nine deaths, one was aged in their 60s, two in their 70s, three in their 80s, one in their 90s and two over the age of 100.

Three were unvaccinated, one had a single dose, four had been double-dosed and one had a booster.

Hospitalisations have continued their downward trend across the state.

749 people are being treated in public hospitals, including 46 in intensive care, and another 781 people are being treated in private facilities.