The big news overnight has been the discovery six new coronavirus cases linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre at Wacol, which for people elsewhere, is between Brisbane and Ipswich to the west. It’s near where the three young women lived who lied and gamed the system returning from Melbourne making Premier Palaszczuk ‘absolutely furious’
Here’s what we know so far about Queensland’s coronavirus outbreak in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre posted this afternoon by the ABC.
Initially we had 77-year-old prison supervisor who worked five shifts last week while infected, but asymptomatic until just a headache in the last two days. Now suddenly we have four more prison workers, and two associates infected.
Genomic sequencing is being done to identify the original source, but results will only be available at the end of next week.
So now we have a worker from the suburb of Marsden (in the Logan City Council area), another worker who is also a contractor for QBuild and had been working on upgrades at the Springwood State High School, his wife who lives with him in the Brisbane suburb of Carindale, another worker who also works at a disability accommodation facility in North Ipswich, a relative of that worker who has visited the Ipswich Hospital, plus another worker who lives in the Brisbane suburb of Forest Lake.
As I type I’ve heard the national A/CHO Paul Kelly praise Qld for the rapidity of response.
When you look at it, the 77 year old was identified as positive on Wednesday, four days after she last worked. Not sure when she was tested.
Now the 127 youth and over 500 workers have been tested, but we have only been told that 56 results have so far come back negative. I doubt that is up to date, but we’ve been told to brace ourselves for more bad news to come.
That is not rapid, and well outside the 48-hour maximum from testing to 90% complete contact tracing specified by Professor Toole.
We heard that the 77 year-old had worked in the operations centre, that she had not walked through the accommodation section and had limited contact with “a very small number” of young people. They could monitor here movement with the CCTV.
Queensland Health have now released an Urgent COVID-19 update which lists some changes in ‘restricted areas’. The restricted areas are the Brisbane metropolitan area, Ipswich City, Logan City, the Scenic Rim, Somerset Region, Lockyer Valley, the Moreton Bay Local Government Area, and Redland City.
For non-residents, that’s metropolitan Brisbane plus SEQ to the west and south, but not the Gold Coast.
For most citizens it means that they can’t hold sundry gatherings in private homes and public spaces with more 10 people. Restaurants and such with COVID-safe plans are unaffected. Also there will be restrictions on visiting residential aged care and disability accommodation facilities, plus restrictions on residents leaving such facilities. Hospitals will also restrict visitation.
However, this is the important one:
- Hospital emergency departments, aged care facilities and disability accommodation facilities will use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks and gloves to treat all patients and residents.
To me that is after the horse has bolted.
This afternoon I heard of some overseas research which identifies most infections as occurring through unstructured movement inside buildings, such as restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels and workplaces.
I’m thinking that if the 77 year-old had been wearing a mask, then all this grief may never have happened.
As restrictions have been lifted, my wife and I have been venturing out, but with care, and on the mutual agreement that we wear masks. This is the heavy duty one we invested in from Bondi Air:
The mask itself is washable. The main features are a velvet outer (tends to shed droplets), a soft inner, but it is mostly blocked off in between, forcing you to draw air through the small vent. There is a five layer, specially designed pad behind the vent in a pouch. The site says that you can use the pad 40 times, then dispose of it. Pads cost around $2 each.
You do have to suck air a little using it, so people may find it exhausting if working long hours. So we also have disposable medical masks, like the one below:
They don’t frighten people as much, and you can talk better through them.
I’d have to say that Queensland is like it got halfway there, then it is like the virus went away, judging by public behaviour. My GP centre has good practice. They will bulk bill telemedicine calls. Scripts are sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice. Some pharmacies deliver, usually with a charge. We call and collect at a pharmacy that is very open and accessible in layout, and has a protective panel at the desk.
If you need to see the doctor, you call from the car park, and wait your turn there. You are required to come masked, and will have been asked about COVID symptoms in the reminder text. When your turn comes, the masked doctor will meet you at the front door with a temperature check and hand sanitiser, so there is no waiting on the premises.
I’m amazed at how establishments, including many medical and paramedical-type establishments, have minimal precautions apart a sign and a container of hand sanitiser on the counter, some spacing of the seating, and a mark on the floor near the counter, which you have to step over to pay you bill.
Our Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, talks about masks roughly the same as her national colleagues – use them if you can’t distance yourself.
Unfortunately it may take a second wave before we join Victoria, where the CHO is saying he sees masks as part of the scene for the longer haul.