Three new cases as Premier to face grilling
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed three new COVID-19 cases overnight but she is expected to face tough questions over the handling of two people in hotel quarantine who were able to leave the facility before testing positive for the highly infectious UK strain of COVID-19.
Two of the new cases were acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine, while the third is a historical case in Cairns.
The latest positive cases include: a man in his 60s who travelled from the Philippines, a man in his 40s from the US, and a Cairns man in his 40s who returned from the Congo in September.
All 129 Grand Chancellor guests have tested negative but Ms Palaszczuk has repeated there needed to be more options for hotel quarantine on the table, with her to take the "mining camps" proposal to national cabinet.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has asked for a full audit of CCTV footage across all hotels being used for hotel quarantine after the Courier-Mail on Thursday reported that two people - a woman and her father - in hotel quarantine who tested positive for COVID-19 had just hours earlier been taken to hospital for unrelated medical treatment, with the government initially refusing to answer questions about the incident.
"If we find that there is any gap in that whole process, that we ourselves make sure that we put CCTV in those hotels and that has already commenced in two hotels," the Police Commissioner said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said in the case of the daughter going to hospital with her father from hotel quarantine, she said both were treated like they were positive for COVID-19, wearing full PPE and under police escort.
She said the man - who had tested negative but was experiencing health issues - had limited English and the hospital had asked for his daughter to accompany him.
The father subsequently tested positive the following day.
She said it wasn't unexpected that people leave hotels to access health care "and we have always required them to leave in an ambulance wearing PPE".
"They are treated as if they are positive," she said.
Dr Young said the father had been taken to hospital because of some health issues, that were probably the first showings of COVID.
"His English is not great so the daughter went with him," she said.
She said "there's no issue here at all".
She defended not telling Queenslanders about the fact the pair had left hotel quarantine amid news around the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.
Dr Young said there were often cases where people would travel out of hotel quarantine with a sick patient, like for children, or people who couldn't communicate well, and there was no risk to the public.
When initially approached for comment on Thursday, the government initially refused to explain how the woman was allowed to accompany her father, also infected with the COVID strain, to the Royal Brisbane Hospital before returning to the Grand Chancellor hotel on Monday.
At 11am on Thursday, The Courier-Mail directly asked health staff about the incident, including how she was able to return to the hotel where sources say she startled staff who had not been alerted to her return.
But in a response shortly before 4pm on Thursday, Queensland Health refused to explain how the woman was transported back to the Grand Chancellor, only explaining the protocols for taking people to hospital.
Queensland Health eventually confirmed that the was in fact transported to and from the facility via ambulance in full protective gear.
Dr Young said the ambulance officers who transported the pair were not in quarantine because they were wearing correct PPE and there were no breaches.
Dr Young said authorities had followed up the "vast majority" of those associated with the Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Dr Young said she is 'getting comfortable' we had avoided a feared outbreak in Logan - after the cleaner was infectious in the community for five days.
She said the historical Cairns case likely explained why COVID fragments were turning up in the Cairns sewage testing.
Ms Carroll said police had "well and truly started" the investigation into the cluster at the hotel.
She said three of the six infected people had been interviewed.
Queensland on Thursday recorded four new cases - all in hotel quarantine, but none of which were in the Hotel Grand Chancellor, which was the subject of a mass evacuation on Wednesday as a cluster of the highly infectious UK strain of COVID-19 grew to six.
LATEST RESTRICTIONS AND HEALTH ALERTS
Until 1am, Friday January 22:
Must be worn in indoor places, including shopping centres and supermarkets, gyms, workplaces where people cannot socially distance and where it is safe to do so, places of worship, libraries, public transport, taxis and ride share vehicles.
Must be carried at all times.
Are not required to be worn when outdoors at a safe distance from other people (for example, walking a dog), in private vehicles or doing
BUSINESSES AND VENUES
Indoors: 1 person
per 4sq m
1 person per 2sq m
Seated eating and drinking only
Smaller venues up to 200sq m: 1 person per 2sq m up to a maximum of 50
No dancing except
Up to 20 in homes and public spaces
Weddings: Up to 100. No restrictions on dancing
Funerals: Up to 100
Indoor concert venues or theatres: 50% capacity, or 1 person per 4sq m - whichever is greater
Outdoor stadiums: 50% capacity with COVIDSafe plans
Restrictions on visits to hospitals, aged care, disability accommodation and prisons remain.
QUEENSLAND HEALTH ALERTS FOR TESTING:
SOUTHSIDE BRISBANE (RELATED TO CLEANER AND PARTNER)
Two sites were added to the contact tracing list after the quarantine hotel cleaner's partner tested positive on Monday.
Anyone who visited Bunnings Warehouse in Acacia Ridge from 2pm to 2:40pm on Tuesday, January 5, and Sunnybank Cellars in Sunnybank Hills from 2:05pm to 2:15pm on Wednesday, January 6, has been urged to get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days regardless of the outcome.
An urgent public health alert was issued late on Saturday evening, ordering anyone who had visited Coles at Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown on January 5, 7.30am-8am, or Woolworths Calamvale North on January 3, 11am-noon to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test result.
The Public Health Unit confirmed anyone who attended these venues at these times was now considered to be a close contact with a Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner who tested positive to the UK variant.
The Nextra newsagency at Sunnybank Hills was also added to this list of "critical importance".
Authorities have also asked anybody on the Altandi to Roma St Station train at 7am on January 2 and Central to Altandi train at 4pm on January 2 to get tested.
MALENY (RELATED TO PASSENGER FROM MELBOURNE)
Health alerts have been issued for three venues in Maleny after a woman flew from Melbourne to Brisbane and then drove to the Sunshine Coast hinterland town on January 5. The woman also had the UK mutant strain of COVID-19 and had been in quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days before being allowed to fly but has since tested positive for the virus. At the time 10 days was the required quarantine period and no exit test was required.
Dr Young said the risk was "extremely low" but said Queensland Health wanted to be cautious.
Queensland Health has urged anyone who visited the Cappriccios Italian Pizza Restaurant on January 6, between 6.30pm and 7pm, to get tested.
They have also issued the same advice for those who visited Purple Palate Cellars between 4.15pm and 4.25pm on January 7 as well as the Maleny Woolworths supermarket on the same day between 4.30pm and 4.50pm.
Anyone in the Maleny area with any symptoms has also been urged to come forward for testing.
Dr Young said health authorities wanted to test passengers on Jetstar flight JQ570 but she said Queensland Health had already contacted all passengers.
Originally published as WATCH: Case update as Premier to face grilling over hotel drama