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No new SA cases but Spurrier 'on alert' for test results

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South Australia has recorded no new coronavirus cases overnight, but the state’s chief public health officer says the public needs to stay “alert but not alarmed” as authorities wait on testing results from some close contacts of yesterday’s positive cases.

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Hundreds of people in South Australia are currently in mandatory 14-day home quarantine, including at least 300 people who visited Adelaide Airport between 5.40pm and 6.30pm on Friday June 25, after a miner at a Northern Territory gold mine and four of his family members tested COVID-positive in Adelaide on Tuesday. 

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said no new coronavirus cases were detected overnight, but SA Health was still waiting on test results from some of the 121 passengers on Virgin Airlines flight VA1742 on Friday night and workers at a KFC outlet where the miner and his wife purchased food while potentially COVID-positive. 

She said SA Health was yet to make contact with two people on the Virgin flight.

The other 27 miners from the Northern Territory mine who had arrived in South Australia were retested yesterday and returned negative results.

Their families, who are quarantining at home with the miners, were also retested, but SA Health is yet to receive all those results.

There were six people who dropped off supplies to the COVID-positive family between Friday night and Tuesday. They have all returned negative results.

If we feel that there’s an increasing risk, we might put on more restrictions

Spurrier said 11,700 people were tested yesterday – one of the biggest testing days since the Parafield cluster.

“For South Australians at the moment I’d say stay alert but not alarmed,” she said.

“We’ve got our contact tracing team, which we’ve increased in size over the last 12 months, a very good system with SAPOL to get in contact with people, so I’m feeling more confident as we’re getting more of these test results coming through.

“But, for us in South Australia when you look around the rest of Australia, the outbreaks are still active and still increasing in numbers of cases.

“We have put borders in place very early and sometimes I get criticised about overreacting with my advice, but what we do know with this pandemic is it can change very quickly and it’s better to be a bit pre-emptive in some situations.”

Spurrier said the COVID-positive miner’s health yesterday deteriorated and he was transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a medical assessment, but he has since been transferred back to Tom’s Court medi-hotel – a dedicated facility for positive cases.

“It does show how serious this infection can be, even in people who are relatively young and fit and healthy,” she said, referring to the miner, who is aged in his 30s.

“If we feel that there’s an increasing risk, we might put on more restrictions, but we just need to balance that with the impact that restrictions have on… individual people in our population, but also the economic impacts.

“It is difficult walking on a tightrope trying to predict the future and trying to weigh up those risks, and my team and I look at a whole variety of bits of data to make those decisions and to provide that advice to the Police Commissioner.”

Spurrier said the family’s pregnant dog – called Madeline – was currently being looked after by the RSPCA while the entire family quarantined at Tom’s Court.

“I’m not an expert at feeding dogs and I would not give my dog this, I have to say, but this dog is very special and is having little mini frankfurters and also chicken at the moment,” she said.

“Madeline is getting lots of cuddles, but the people that are giving cuddles are in full PPE.”

It comes after both the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide yesterday flew their teams to Melbourne pre-emptively after yesterday’s announcement of five new coronavirus cases.

The Crows were originally scheduled to play the Brisbane Lions on Saturday at Adelaide Oval.

Spurrier said SA Health had talked to the AFL this morning about the potential to still host the game in Adelaide.

“I have no problem with the game going ahead (in Adelaide) but we do need certain protocols in place because my understanding is they’re playing the Brisbane Bullets (sic) and because they have come from Queensland they will need protocols around testing prior to playing the match,” she said.

Queensland has recorded two new local cases of COVID-19 with a lockdown still set to end on Friday night.

Meanwhile, NSW has recorded 24 new local COVID-19 cases as Premier Gladys Berejiklian admits the virus is “continuing to circulate” in the community, despite a 14-day lockdown.

The Northern Territory has also recorded one new case of COVID-19 – another miner who tested positive in Darwin.

Expanded capacity at Wayville vaccination hub

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Premier Steven Marshall this morning announced the State Government would expand the capacity of the Wayville vaccination hub next week by a further 2000 appointments per week.

He said the added appointments would make the hub “four times larger than what we originally envisaged”.

The clinic is currently administering more than 10,000 vaccination doses per week.

“Those additional 2000 doses will be the Pfizer dose,” Marshall said.

“What we’re trying to do is to just make it far more accessible for people to get their vaccination when they become eligible.

“I know a lot of people have had vaccination hesitancy, have been concerned about going and having their vaccination dose.

“What I can say is, the overwhelming feedback from those who have been here is extraordinarily positive.”

The State Government will also open three additional vaccination hubs in Victor Harbor, Mount Barker and Gawler this month.

Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that it was up to people aged under 60 to choose whether to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca, despite advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation that only those aged over 60 receive the vaccine.

He said people aged under 60 needed to make an “informed decision” in consultation with their GP before getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“They might choose to take that extraordinarily low risk of getting the TTS (thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome) from taking the AstraZeneca,” he said

“The ATAGI advice is pretty clear – for those over 60 the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, it’s free of charge, it’s effective and we’re really encouraging people to have it.”

Marshall also encouraged families to stay home these school holidays, or to consider holidaying in regional SA instead of interstate.

“That would certainly be helping our state and our economy because we have had cancelations from interstate people that were going to be coming here,” he said.

– with AAP

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