Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital is placed in lockdown and the nearby Mater Mothers’ Hospital has sent staff home amid “escalating” concerns over two COVID-19 clusters that also prompted the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer to declare Greater Brisba…
Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital has been placed in lockdown amid “escalating” concerns over two COVID-19 clusters that have also prompted the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer to declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot.
“In light of recent cases of COVID-19 that have been linked to the ward 5D at Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, a decision has been made for PA hospital to go into lockdown today,” Queensland’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service confirmed in a statement.
As a precautionary measure, we are continuing to test all staff that have worked in ward 5D at PA Hospital between midday Friday, March 19 and 4:00pm Sunday, March 28.
Ward 5D is the PA Hospitals infectious diseases ward.
It is the second time this month the PA has been locked down.
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The major hospital, on Brisbane’s southside, was locked down on March 12 when a doctor tested positive for the virus after working with infectious patients.
Meanwhile, the Mater Mothers Hospital at South Brisbane sent home staff after it was discovered a recent visitor is one of the confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The ABC understands the person visited a floor in the private maternity section as well as a nearby coffee shop that staff frequented.
The staff sent home included midwives and doctors.
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Greater Brisbane now a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot
Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly declared Greater Brisbane a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot on Tuesday afternoon, saying it was “for the purposes of Commonwealth support” amid what has been called an “escalating” situation involving two separate strains of the highly infectious B117, or UK strain of coronavirus.
“It is escalating at the moment what happens now, particularly in relation to the lockdown and even more importantly the very strong public health action of test, trace and isolate that’s happening in south-east Queensland at the moment, hopefully that will get on top of it, but at the moment those numbers are increasing,” Dr Kelly said.
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“To date, testing has identified seven people in the first cluster and eight in the second cluster.
“We also know they are likely to be two quite separate incursions of this strain into the Brisbane community and so at this stage they are not connected outbreaks.”
The ABC also understands there is a COVID-19 case in the Toowoomba Hospital on the state’s Darling Downs that has been linked to the Byron Bay cluster.
It is understood the woman was included in today’s case numbers.
“Numerous locations have been visited by cases during their infectious period, including locations in Gladstone, Moreton Bay Regional City Council, Byron Bay, Toowoomba,” Dr Kelly said.
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“Due to this increased risk posed by the B117 variant and the occurrence of cases who have been in the community whilst infectious over a number of days, and other factors indicating the risk of transmission and more severe disease, this declaration is proportionate to the change in circumstances and the Commonwealth has offered, therefore, the Queensland Government support and assistance.
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“We’ll be watching very closely what happens in Brisbane over the coming days, and indeed in northern NSW, where we know that some of those cases were last weekend whilst infectious.
“This virus has not gone away, it is circulating we know in the Brisbane area, at least, so people should be taking those precautions of the COVID-safe behaviours that we’ve been saying all along keep your physical distance, remember your cough etiquette, wash your hands often, all of these things remain important.”
Dr Kelly urged people to take note of the list of more than 60 exposure sites listed by Queensland Health.
He said continuing the vaccine rollout as quickly as possible would be the “way out” of the pandemic.
He said the Commonwealth had a “fantastic” partnership with states and territories in dealing with the pandemic and the vaccine rollout.
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