Scramble to identify exposure sites after doctor tested positive for Covid and major hospital was plunged into lockdown – as it’s revealed he was treating patient with deadly UK strain
- Queensland hospital has been placed into lockdown after doctor caught Covid
- The junior doctor was working at Princess Alexandra Hospital in south Brisbane
- The medical worker was among the community whilst infected on Thursday
- Doctor’s case follows virus fragments detected in six wastewater facilities
Authorities are racing to identify potential Covid-19 exposure sites after a Brisbane doctor tested positive to the virus and a hospital was plunged into lockdown.
The junior medic at Princess Alexandra Hospital was infectious while out in the community on Thursday, though his exact movements are not yet clear.
The doctor had treated a patient with the UK variant of the virus and returned a positive result on Friday.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young will likely provide further details about the case and places he visited on Saturday.
A junior doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) in Brisbane’s south has tested positive for Covid, plunging the facility into lockdown
The hospital sent an email to staff labelling the incident as a ‘moderate risk’ and urged anyone who showed symptoms to stay home.
‘As you may have heard, a positive case with unknown origin has been detected in the Metro South Health catchment,’ the email read.
‘The case is a medical officer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.’
The doctor had contact with Covid-infected patients on the morning of March 10 before leaving the hospital and being in the community for about the next 24 hours.
The lockdown conditions include banning non-essential visitors and mandatory masks to be worn by those inside the facility.
Non-urgent and elective surgeries will also be delayed until the lockdown lifts.
The Queensland government’s contact tracing team is working to track the man’s movements and identify people who have been in close proximity with the doctor.
‘The hospital is actively working to ensure the safety of staff and patients on campus while contact tracing is undertaken,’ a Queensland Health statement said.
‘Anyone with any Covid-19 symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate until you receive a negative result.’
Non-essential visitors to the Princess Alenxandra Hospital have been banned and elective surgeries have been postponed because of the lockdown (file image)
The hospital’s emergency department will remain open but the hospital is urging the public to seek assistance to other hospitals or GPs if possible.
The Princess Alexandra facility is one of Australia’s main teaching hospitals with 1,050 beds and nearly 6,000 staff.
The doctor’s case is the first local transmission of coronavirus in Queensland since January 11.
Meanwhile, Queensland Health has issued an urgent coronavirus warning after fragments of the virus were found in two wastewater treatment plants.
More than 60 suburbs have their water treated at the facility sparking concerns the virus might have spread undetected.
The fragments were found at the Bundaberg plant and the Gibson Island plant in south Brisbane with authorities unsure if they are from historical or new cases.
‘We are concerned by the new variants that are emerging overseas that are more contagious than previous variants we have seen in Queensland,’chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said on Friday.
Coronavirus fragments have also been discovered this week at two wastewater treatment plants in Queensland sparking warnings for residents of more than 60 suburbs (pictured: a trainee hydrographer takes a sample of wastewater to test for COVID-19)
‘It’s also possible that this detection relates to previous COVID-19 cases that can shed viral fragments for a couple of months after they are no longer infectious.’
A day earlier, authorities discovered fragments of coronavirus at other treatment plants in the state.
Two plants in Cairns, the Marlin Coast and Cairns North facilities, returned the positives results along with the Fairfield plant in Brisbane South and the Mackay South facility.
Dr Young repeated calls for anyone experiencing even mild symptoms to self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible.
‘Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, and loss of taste or smell,’ she said.
‘We can’t be complacent, we’re still in this pandemic.’
She said detecting new cases quickly and containing any potential spread of the virus was still an urgent priority.
COVID WASTEWATER DETECTIONS
GIBSON ISLAND PLANT:
(Gibson Island plant contd.)
Eight Mile Plains
Mount Gravatt East
Upper Mount Gravatt