‘Critical’ 36 hours in bid to prevent another lockdown

A 'critical' 36 hours faces southeast Queensland as authorities scramble to stop the spread of the deadly UK strain of COVID-19 through the region.

Hospitals, aged care and disability services facilities across Greater Brisbane have been closed to visitors after a female doctor treating COVID-19 patients at the Princess Alexandra Hospital tested positive on Friday night.

There are fears the woman is infectious with the highly-contagious UK strain, but say her fast thinking has likely saved more than 3 million Greater Brisbane residents from plunging into a snap lockdown.

The doctor was in contact with two COVID-19-positive patients at the PA Hospital early on Wednesday after they were brought in from hotel quarantine.

She worked shifts at various locations within the hospital on Thursday before developing symptoms on Thursday evening testing positive on Friday morning - ending the state's 61-day streak of no community transmission.

Investigations suggest the doctor spent just one day in the community while infectious, however several high-risk public sites have been identified.

On Thursday the doctor visited West End's Morning After Cafe between 2pm and 3.15pm before attending the Corporate Box Gym at Greenslopes between 5.45pm and 7pm.

The doctor visited the Morning After cafe in West End. Pic Mark Cranitch.
The doctor visited the Morning After cafe in West End. Pic Mark Cranitch.

She later attended the Stones Corner Hotel on Logan Rd from 7pm to 7.45pm.

Authorities say anybody who visited those locations at the same time should immediately quarantine home.

The doctor also attended the McDonald's drive-through between 3.10am and 3.20am on Thursday, however it is considered a low-risk site and anybody who attended should monitor their health and get tested if they develop symptoms.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the next two days would be "pretty critical" to determine whether there had been any further community spread.

"I don't want everyone to be alarmed at present we've got some detailed contract tracing happening," she said.

The doctor attended the Corporate Box Gym at Greenslopes between 5.45pm and 7pm. (AAP Image/John Pryke)
The doctor attended the Corporate Box Gym at Greenslopes between 5.45pm and 7pm. (AAP Image/John Pryke)

Ms Palaszczuk said the closure of hospitals, aged care and disability services were "precautionary measures" and declared there was no need to mandate widespread mask-wearing yet.

Queensland Health is monitoring testing clinics for "any surges" and say more are ready to open if needed.

Fears remain that the highly-contagious UK strain of COVID-19 has circulated in the southeast, however Ms Palaszczuk said the actions of the fast-thinking female doctor has so far prevented serious restrictions from being implemented.

"That's another positive for us," she said.

However, authorities are scrambling to understand how the unvaccinated doctor contracted the virus while treating patients.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett said the woman "wore appropriate PPE during the time she was with the patients", raising questions about how she became infectious.

"The hospital will look into that and identify any particular cause that may need an improvement," she said.

Originally published as 'Critical' 36 hours in bid to prevent another lockdown



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