Queensland Covid update: more than 400 health staff in isolation as 16 new local cases recorded


More than 400 health workers are among thousands currently in isolation in Queensland, placing pressure on hospitals as the state’s Covid-19 outbreak grows.

Queensland recorded 16 new locally acquired cases of the infectious Delta strain on Tuesday. All were linked, bringing the number of cases to 47 in a cluster involving exposure sites at several schools and at least three major Brisbane hospitals.

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said a large number of critical health workers were in quarantine, including all cardiac surgeons at the Queensland Children’s hospital.

“We worked through how we could allow one of them to operate on an urgent case,” she said. “No Queenslander will be denied any care because the health workers they need are in quarantine.

“Unfortunately we have had to delay some surgery and some outpatient work.”

Many health workers have been forced into isolation as parents or close contacts of students at Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Girls Grammar and Ironside state school.

Venues at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital, the Princess Alexandra hospital and the University of Queensland have been listed as high-risk exposure sites.

Young said she was still concerned about the missing cases linking infections in two returned overseas travellers to an Indooroopilly state high school student and her family. “We don’t know how this outbreak has happened.”

Nine of the new Covid cases are school students, Queensland’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said.

In addition to the 16 confirmed cases, a person has returned a positive Covid-19 test in Cairns. A Queensland Health spokesperson said the case was under investigation to determine whether it was an active or historical case.

So far 7,995 Queenslanders are in quarantine in relation to the outbreak, of whom at least 4,089 are isolating at home.

Millions of Queenslanders in 11 local government areas remain in lockdown as the state recorded 34,718 Covid tests in past 24 hours.

“There are concerns of exposure not just in Brisbane but also on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast,” the deputy premier, Steven Miles, said.

A total of 18.47% of eligible Queensland adults are fully vaccinated, while 36.97% have had their first dose.

A health worker walks outside a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Tuesday.
A health worker walks outside a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Peled/EPA

Young said anyone under 60 who wanted to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine should speak to their GP, denying a suggestion that her earlier warnings about young people receiving the vaccine may have contributed to vaccine hesitancy.

“The Atagi advice is when we reach a large outbreak, which I think we’re on the verge of – I hope it doesn’t become any larger but I suspect it will – then that is the time to go and have that discussion with your GP,” Young said.

The federal government will provide Queensland with an additional 150,000 AstraZeneca doses, to be administered by pharmacies.


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