Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that SA Health would find out by early this afternoon whether a man who tested positive yesterday on day 13 of his quarantine stay at the Stamford Plaza medi-hotel is infected with the Delta variant.
The man aged in his 40s, who was vaccinated against COVID-19, was quarantining in a room opposite another man who was previously deemed a historical case.
Authorities now believe the historical case was in fact an active case, causing them to suspect transmission occurred within the hotel.
“This person is having genomics undertaken at the moment and we’re hoping to have that back this morning (or) early afternoon to tell us whether this is either genomically linked with the person in the room across from them, or whether it is a different genomics altogether,” Kirkpatrick said.
“We can’t tell yet whether that’s the Delta strain or not.”
The potential for medi-hotel transmission yesterday prompted SA Health to order five people who were quarantining on the same floor as the infectious men to undertake a further 14 days of medi-hotel quarantine.
There were 14 other people who were quarantining on the same floor as the men, but have since completed their 14-day stay and are now out in the community.
“There’s 14 individuals who have left during that period of time from that particular floor, which is level 19 of the Stamford,” Kirkpatrick said.
“We’re waiting to see what those genomics show.
“We’re working through what that means for those other individuals on the floor.”
Kirkpatrick said the 14 people “weren’t very closely located” to the infectious men.
“At this stage we’re not causing too much alarm,” she said.
“But, we know this virus is so easily transmissible, we know that risk now with aerosol generation, we know that there is a risk here for people undertaking medi-hotel quarantine, which is why we now have that test required at day 17 and also a follow up at day 21.”
It comes after COVID-19 transmission within Adelaide’s Playford medi-hotel sparked an outbreak in Melbourne in May.
A review into the cause of the transmission found that the most plausible reason for the transmission was due to hotel room doors opening within 30 minutes of each other, as the Melbourne man and an infected person collected food that had been delivered
The Melbourne man completed his quarantine stay and travelled back to his home city while unknowingly infectious.
Authorities to determine new restrictions in SA
Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens will meet with health authorities today to determine whether to reimpose internal restrictions in South Australia.
He said that authorities were “very concerned” with the number of exposure sites and locally-acquired cases in Victoria and New South Wales.
“I’ll be upfront – my hope is that we maintain the status quo today, but we’ll be critically reviewing what is happening in other jurisdictions and what the risk looks like for South Australia,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.
“People should be ready for an announcement that indicates we might have to take some steps to provide a greater level of security for South Australia.
“I can’t say it’s going to happen today – I hope it doesn’t – but, it’s just a moving feast.”
The three exposure sites in South Australia are the Tailem Bend Shell service station and neighbouring Coolabah Tree Café between 5.20pm and 7pm on Friday, July 9, and the OTR Tailem Bend Motorsport Park service station on the Dukes Highway between 7:20am to 8:15am on the same day.
They were visited by three removalists relocating a Western Sydney family to McLaren Vale.
Two of the removalists have tested positive, with authorities believing they might have been infectious while in South Australia.
Kirkpatrick said eight staff members at OTR Tailem Bend Motorsport Park, which was identified as an exposure site last night, were working at the at-risk time, with seven already returning negative test results.
They are now undertaking 14 days of home quarantine.
Kirkpatrick said 25 QR code check-ins were recorded at the motorsport park service station during the at-risk period, but authorities expect more people visited the station and did not check-in.
She said SA Health was not aware of any other exposure sites in South Australia.
“We are not actively searching for any other locations, but the phone data is being reanalysed (and) we are continuing to speak with these individuals,” she said.
“I can’t say hand on my heart there will be no further locations being put out to the community related directly to the removalists, but we are very pleased that we have finally have found that petrol stop that was made on the way into South Australia.”
So far, South Australia has reported no confirmed coronavirus cases as a result of exposure to the infected removalists.
New South Wales has recorded 65 new local COVID-19 cases this morning, bringing the current outbreak’s total to 929.
Of the 65 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, at least 35 people were out in the community for part or all of their infectious period.
There were two more positive cases linked to level two of the MCG members stand reported by Victorian Health authorities this morning.
Queensland has recorded three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today and will extend a face mask mandate for another week.
– with AAP
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