August 22, 2020
New COVID-19 restrictions have been imposed immediately in eight council areas in south-east Queensland following the confirmation of community transmission in the Ipswich area.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Saturday morning there had been six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre at Wacol.
This brings to seven the number of cases linked to the centre following the confirmation earlier this week that a 77-year-old woman who worked there had tested positive.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said extensive contract tracing was under way and public health alerts would be issued if necessary.
The seven cases so far are:
- Two women who work at the Youth Detention Centre. They live at Bundamba and Forest Lake.
- A Marsden man who worked at the centre and became sick about the same time as the initial case.
- A Carindale man at the centre, also employed by QBuild. He has also been completing work at a Springwood school. His wife has also tested positive.
- A North Ipswich man who works at a disability accommodation service. A relative of this man who was in Ipswich Hospital has also tested positive.
Testing of the 127 detainees and more than 500 staff at the centre is continuing; it has been reported that 56 results have so far come back negative.
No youths have tested positive so far.
Dr Young said Queensland Health was also contact tracing youths who had been in the centre and released over the last several weeks.
Hospital Emergency Department staff had also been instructed to use Personal Protective Equipment for every patient they see.
“At the moment we don’t know who may have the infection because it’s out there in the community. We clearly have got community spread,” Dr Young said.
She said there was very little influenza around, so if someone in the Brisbane or Ipswich areas had symptoms it was more likely to be COVID-19 than the flu.
“We are concerned about this cluster because people have been out and about in the community,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
The restrictions – effective immediately – affect the Local Government Areas of Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Logan City, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay, Redland City and Somerset council areas.
“Gatherings in your home will be reduced to 10 people,” the Premier said.
“Gatherings outside, for example in parks, will be limited to 10 people.”
The Premier said that in the rest of Queensland, a limit of 30 people was now in place for home gatherings and in outside areas such as parks.
Aged care homes and disability accommodation providers in the eight Council areas would also go into lockdown immediately, ie. no visitors.
“What we need are Queenslanders to realise – especially in south-east Queensland – is that if you have any symptoms whatsoever, we need you to get tested now,” the Premier said.
“We will be standing up additional fever clinics in south-east Queensland … if you are sick, if you have any symptoms, get tested.
“This is a very important time, especially over the next couple of days and, of course, we do expect that there could be even more cases linked to this cluster.
“We will not know those until further results come in.”
The Premier urged people in affected suburbs to take extra precautions.
“It’s very important that cafes and restaurants have their COVID Safe plans in place,” she said.
“The key is absolutely social distancing. This weekend, if you are going to a shopping centre and there is no social distancing, you should leave immediately.
“Social distancing is our biggest weapon against this disease.”
Premier Palaszczuk said she wanted to assure people the children were being well looked after at the Youth Detention Centre.
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Queensland has recorded a total of nine new COVID-19 cases since Friday.
As well as the six cases linked to the Youth Detention Centre, three more cases were detected on cargo ships.
“We are not worried about the crew members on the ships because they are being taken care of,” the Premier said.
Two sailors from a ship off Mackay will be flown to Brisbane.
The third case was detected on a ship off Townsville where two previous cases were detected. These three people are in Townsville Hospital.
- Victoria has recorded 182 new cases and 13 more deaths.
- NSW has recorded nine new cases.
External link: Queensland Health update