QUEENSLAND has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is confident they are of no concern and not linked to the small cluster at a Brisbane hotel.
One was a man in his 60s, who recently returned from the Philippines. The other was a man in his 40s who has arrived from the United States. Both are in hotel quarantine.
The third case was detected in a gentleman in his 40s in north Cairns who had returned from travel to the Congo back in September.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
He tested negative while in hotel quarantine and was released but then returned a positive test when recently returning to work.
Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said it was likely he was a historical case.
“He’s totally well, asymptomatic, so we think that is most likely a persistent shedding,” Dr Young said.
“We know you can shed for up to nine months after you’re positive and it probably explains why we have continued to have all of those positive sewerage results in north Cairns.
“If you remember we have had quite a few of those and we have not been able to explain them. That is the most likely explanation there.
“Now we are going to do additional testing, just to confirm all of that but I am very confident that that will be an historical case and not infectious at the moment.”
No further cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Brisbane, where there have been six cases of the highly contagious UK strain detected, including in a cleaner and her partner who may have been infectious in the community.
All 129 guests who were staying at the hotel at the time have been tested since being moved from the facility and all those tests have come back negative.
The 147 people who stayed there since December 30 and have since left have also tested negative.
The majority of the 226 staff and 502 close contacts have all been contacted and the vast majority have been tested.
Dr Young said she was hopeful there was no further spread.
“I am becoming more and more confident that there is no ongoing spread related to that,” she said.
The Queensland Health Minister said it was good news for residents in Greater Brisbane.
“Every day we are getting closer to that 1:00am, Friday the 22nd of January, lifting of restrictions,” Minister Yvette D’Ath said.
Police Commissioner, Katarina Carroll, said the joint Queensland Health and police investigation into how the virus spread in the hotel is still ongoing.
“We have well and truly started this investigation and I ask you to be patient because there is a fair way to go still,” she said.
“It is a lengthy process and we will make sure that we interrogate every aspect of what has occurred in that hotel.
“Environmental swabbing of the hotel has been completed and this is literally where swabs are taken of the service area where staff work, the walls, materials in the hotel, etc.
“This will be subjected to extensive testing by Queensland Health.”
The practices at the hotel will also form part of the investigation, with police concerned about the lack of CCTV, especially on the 7th floor where the outbreak appears to have occurred.
Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner also wanted to reassure the community a woman with the UK strain of the virus did not breach hotel quarantine by accompanying her sick father to a Brisbane hospital on January 11.
“I can tell you, from extensive independent inquiries, the daughter was wearing full PPE at all times,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“She was transported by QAS, not a taxi or Uber, from the hospital back to the hotel and was then escorted by two police officers back to her room.”
There are 30 active cases across Queensland.