THE Queensland Premier has confirmed there have been three new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the state, including two on the Gold Coast, prompting concerns of a “real risk” of spread within the local community.
All three of the cases are linked to the Queensland Correctional Services Academy, following confirmation a prison guard trainer tested positive to the virus yesterday.
The two Gold Coast cases are trainees from Pimpama, both in their 30s, and the other is from Forest Lake in Brisbane.
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As a result of the latest cases, Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed there will be tighter restrictions placed on gatherings in Gold Coast homes from 8am on Saturday, similar to what is already in place for Greater Brisbane.
“Coming into effect from 8:00am Saturday, we are going to extend those limits of people inside your homes to 10 people, and those gatherings outside to 10,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We have to take this cautionary approach.
“I think everyone would agree, we acted very swiftly when it came to those earlier cases with the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and we know people travel a lot from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, and it makes sense to extend that.”
Restrictions on visitors in aged care homes, hospitals and disability accommodation centres have also been extended to the Gold Coast.
For aged cares homes that means no personal visitors, including care and support visitors are allowed to enter. Only those providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter and they must wear a mask.
End of life visits will still be allowed.
For hospitals, visits are only permitted for parents, guardians or carers for a patient under the age of 18, providing end-of-life support and a partner and /or support person/s for a patient admitted for care related to their pregnancy.
All other patient visitors must receive approval from the operator of a hospital.
Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed the two Gold Coast locals had not been isolating and immediate contact tracing is now underway to determine exactly where they have been during their infectious periods.
“These are of course the first confirmed cases of community transmission on the Gold Coast,” Minister Miles said.
“They weren’t in quarantine and so it is necessarily for us to extend the restrictions currently in place across mitt Metro North, Metro South, and West Moreton, towards the Gold Coast.”
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said the restrictions were vital to make sure the virus is contained.
“The reason being is that all of these cases we have seen related to the corrections training centre have been in younger people, who have had, fortunately for them, very mild symptoms. Extremely mild symptoms,” Dr Young said.
“I’m not quite sure of how it’s spread within that centre, who is the primary case, because of the mild nature of symptoms, we’re just working that through at the moment.
“So to protect the most vulnerable, which is our elderly citizens, that’s why we need to bring in those restrictions for aged care.
“I am concerned about where they’ve been on the Gold Coast .. they’ve been out in the community so there’s a real risk they’ve spread it in the Gold Coast,” Dr Young said.
“Then to protect the people going into our hospitals, we need to bring in that requirement for that additional enhanced use of personal protective equipment in all of our facilities, plus we need to look at visitors going in and out of areas where there are more vulnerable people.”
Businesses who have COVID-safe plans in place, including for weddings venues, restaurants, pubs, clubs and nightclubs can all operate as they have been.
The Premier also confirmed that Schoolies on the Gold Coast will not be going ahead in 2020 due to the current restrictions on mass gatherings.
The cap of 10 people at home gatherings will also be extended to holiday rentals and hotel rooms specifically during the Schoolies period between November 21 and December 11.
“It poses high risk. High risk, not only the people who attend, all the young people, but also all the people they come in contact with, and of course their families and their friends and their grandparents,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“So, we’ve had to take that very tough decision. So there will be, unfortunately, no concerts, no organised events.”
There will be an increased police presence across the Gold Coast to monitor party precincts and make sure people are adhering to the protocols.