Health Minister Yvette D’Ath

December 24, 2020

A Queensland resident – in home quarantine after returning from NSW – has tested positive to COVID-19, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed on Thursday morning.

Ms D’Ath told reporters the man “had done everything right” after returning home.

The man visited the Northern Beaches on December 12. His initial test was negative, but a follow-up test was positive.

“He has been isolating himself in quarantine at home, which has significantly reduced any risk of spreading this to other people,” Ms D’Ath said.

“This is the gold standard of what we expect of anyone who has travelled from the Northern Beaches and has been told to go into quarantine in Queensland.”

The location of the man’s residence was not revealed, except to be described as “south-east Queensland”.

There are now 53 Queensland close contacts in home quarantine linked to confirmed cases in NSW from the Avalon cluster.

“NSW are still tracing contacts from December 11,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“As recently as the last 24 hours, people were being contacted in Queensland and told that they have been in close contact with a positive case.”

The man was one of two new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Queensland overnight, taking the total number of active cases in the State to 11.

The second case was a woman on board a superyacht, ‘Lady E’, which arrived in Cairns from the Maldives.

She is now in Cairns Hospital and the rest of the people on board are in hotel quarantine except for six crew members who have remained on board the moored vessel.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the motor yacht.

The latest two cases come as Queensland marks 100 days without any confirmed community transmission, however traces of virus in sewage have health authorities on alert.

Residents in North Cairns, Townsville, Cleveland and the Gold Coast with even the mildest symptoms were urged earlier this week to get tested.

On Thursday, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said viral fragments had also been detected at the wastewater treatment plants in Wynnum, Bargara and Bundaberg.

She said the positive results, collected on December 21 and 22, were particularly concerning in light of the recent NSW cluster.

“A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious,” Dr Young said.

“While this doesn’t necessarily mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, I am treating this with absolute caution given the emerging situation in NSW.”

Dr Young said she was calling on the Wynnum, Bargara and Bundaberg communities to get tested immediately if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild.

“Please, get tested,” Dr Young said.

“In particular, if you live in these areas and you have been in the Greater Sydney area on or since December 11, please come forward and get tested regardless of whether or not you have symptoms.

“If there is a case in the community, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread and protect the great progress Queensland has made in recent months.”

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