Queensland’s latest COVID-19 case has left health experts scratching their heads, with mystery surrounding how the virus spread from one guest to another in hotel quarantine.
Both guests, who are airline crew, have tested positive to the same Alpha variant despite flying into the country on different flights and staying on totally different floors of the hotel.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has confirmed the transmission “is likely to have occurred in hotel quarantine”, but just how it spread remains unknown.
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The State’s top doctor believes it may have been through surface contact, known as fomite transmission.
“Early indications suggest there has been fomite transmission from a hotel guest who was infectious to yesterday’s case,” Dr Young said.
But Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said that would be a “world-first”, instead suggesting a hotel staff member may have unknowingly spread the virus from one floor to another.
“It appears that the transmission was from a quite high floor to a relatively low floor would be a world first,” he said.
“So I think the more logical explanation would be it’s a staffing matter.
“It is unusual… If I was a betting man, I would suggest that it has something to do with staff movement but that’s really a matter for Queensland to investigate,” he said.
So far, more than 63 contacts have been identified, including 50 close contacts who have been forced into quarantine for 14 days from their exposure.