The Queensland government has reported eight new locally-acquired CCP virus cases in the state overnight and a further two cases acquired overseas that were detected in hotel quarantine.
Premier Annastacia Palszczuk said six of the cases were close contacts of confirmed cases while two others are under investigation but health authorities believed them to be linked to known cases.
This comes after a snap lockdown was implemented in the Greater Brisbane area on March 29 which the premier said was to help slow the spread while contact tracing efforts are underway.
The new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, bring the state’s total number of active cases to 78. This is up from five active cases on Feb. 20.
Palaszczuk told reporters on March 30 that the vast majority of the active cases (approximately 65) were acquired overseas.
Health authorities are keen to rule out further community transmission via the snap lockdown, but the premier called it “good news” that the new cases so far appear to be linked, as this reduces the risk of unknown infectious people.
Two Clusters Emerge From Frontline Staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital
Palaszczuk also said there are now two distinct clusters of the UK variant in Queensland, both connected to frontline healthcare workers at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
“We now believe that there are two distinct clusters so we have a cluster linked of course to that PA doctor and we have a second cluster linked to the PA nurse,” Palaszczuk told reporters.
One cluster is connected to the doctor who tested positive for the virus on March 12 after being infected by a hotel quarantine guest.
Genomic sequencing linked the doctor’s virus to a 26-year-old Stafford man who tested positive on March 25—though he had been infectious in the community for a week at that stage.
The Stafford man then passed the virus onto a close contact, a Strathpine man. The Strathpine man then infected two colleagues and his brother.
The second cluster is connected to a nurse from the same hospital. She worked a shift on March 23 but Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said they could not find an epidemiological link between her and a COVID-19 positive patient as she did not work in the COVID-19 ward. However, genomic testing has linked her directly with the patient.
“I don’t know if she got it directly from that patient, because she wasn’t working with COVID cases that night but we have to confirm that, or whether she’s got it from someone else in the hospital,” Young told reporters. “But we do know she’s got exactly the same genome.”
The nurse’s sister tested positive with the same genome as well. A further five cases have been linked to the nurse and her sister, all of whom attended a party in Byron Bay together.
A CCP virus outbreak sent about 2.5 million people in Greater Brisbane into a snap three-day lockdown on Monday afternoon.
Hundreds more people around the state who have visited Brisbane since March 20 are also under orders to stay at home and self-isolate.
A mask-wearing mandate has been imposed for the entire state, given the number of people who travelled from Brisbane to other regions during the time the first cases were infectious in the community.