Mystery CCP Virus Cases Spark Extra Testing in Queensland

April 6, 2020Australia
Mystery CCP Virus Cases Spark Extra Testing in Queensland
Medical professionals administer COVID-19 tests at the Bondi Beach drive-through COVID-19 testing center in Sydney, Australia, on April 6, 2020. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Extra testing for COVID-19 will be rolled out in parts of Queensland due to 32 cases whose sources remain unaccounted for.

Officials don’t know how or where a handful of people became infected, sparking an order for increased testing from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“It wasn’t from someone who had been overseas, it wasn’t from a confirmed case,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.

“I’m going to be asking healthcare workers to increase the people they are testing, even if they don’t have any travel history.

“And I’ve asked for that to be done in the Gold Coast, in Brisbane, and in Cairns, because that’s where we’ve seen those cases.”

Fourteen new cases of the CCP virus were confirmed in Queensland on Monday, bringing the state’s infection total to 921, with 173 people now fully recovered.

Twelve of the 43 Queenslanders in hospital are in intensive care, with 10 on ventilators.

The state’s death toll stands at five.

The latest figures come as The Royal Queensland Show has been cancelled and Gold Coast beaches at The Spit, Surfers Paradise, and Coolangatta have been closed due to the CCP virus.

Organisers announced on Monday the agriculture show known as The Ekka would not go ahead in August amid a state-wide shutdown to stem the spread of the infection.

It is the third time the event has been called off in its 143 years.

It was previously cancelled in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic and in 1942 when the Brisbane Showgrounds were used as a World War II staging depot.

The showgrounds have been earmarked as a location for a temporary COVID-19 treatment centre for patient overflows from hospitals.

New diagnoses of the CCP virus have slowed in Queensland in recent days, but Health Minister Steven Miles says the crisis is far from over.

The state government will pay for accommodation to house health staff who cannot go home after their shift for various reasons.

“For whatever reason, their household circumstances means that they don’t feel safe to be going home or quarantining at home,” Miles said.

“They might have a child with an immune disorder.

“They might have an elderly parent living with them, and all of those things can be taken into account.”

He heaped praise on people who’ve been following orders to stay at home to prevent the kind of mass deaths seen in Europe.

But the state’s overall tally continues to rise, and some chief health officers have warned about reading too much into the weekend figures, when fewer tests are carried out.

Miles says he’s disgusted with those who blatantly flout social distancing rules.

Fifty-eight people were slapped with virus infringement fines worth a total of A$77,000 on Saturday night after police broke up a gathering at an industrial car park in Rochedale.

Gold Coast beaches will be closed from Tuesday night after massive crowds flocked to the seaside over the weekend.

People living outside the area have been told to stay away.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Nurses Union has received complaints about some of its members being abused in public while wearing their uniforms.

Secretary Beth Mohle says she’s gobsmacked and people should remember that nurses are going to work to treat everyone, not just virus patients.

By Sonia Kohlbacher and Tracey Ferrier

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