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'Cause for optimism' after just one new SA case


South Australia has recorded a single new COVID-19 case overnight – a man who visited Tenafeate Creek Wines and was not infectious while in the community – prompting Premier Steven Marshall to express hope that the state’s lockdown might be able to lift after seven days.  

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Marshall announced the “encouraging news” of just one new case at today’s daily COVID-19 press conference, but said it was still “early days” in the state’s seven-day lockdown and it was unlikely that restrictions would lift before next Tuesday.

It comes after a “record breaking” testing day in South Australia, with SA Pathology and private clinics processing 23,572 tests yesterday.

“It’s early days – we’re day three of a seven day lockdown – but all of the early indications are positive and so I’m hopeful that we will come out on seven days as we indicated right at the outset,” Marshall said.

“I think we have cause for optimism, but we’ve only got cause for optimism because of the great cooperation that we have from the people from South Australia.

“All the early signs are very positive that this will just be a seven-day lockdown.”

Marshall said from Tuesday, it was likely that there would be a “step down” of restrictions.

“We won’t be going back to having no restrictions in South Australia,” he said.

“We are in a deteriorating situation right across the country at the moment (and) we can’t forget how we got this in the first place.

“It is a very difficult situation in Australia with the delta variant, so we do need to be cautious and careful and we don’t want to come out of this one or two days early and then all of a sudden have another cluster to be dealing with.”

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said today’s positive case was a man aged in his 60s who visited the Tenafeate Creak Wines “super spreader” site on Sunday.

The man, who is not related to the brother and sister who tested positive yesterday, went into quarantine at home with his wife and returned an initial negative test result on Tuesday.

However, he later developed coronavirus symptoms and tested positive overnight.

Spurrier said because he returned an initial negative test, health authorities were confident that he was not infectious while out in the community.

“Any of the time between being exposed and any potential exposures on Monday are not an issue because we was not infectious in the community,” she said.

“He did exactly the right thing, exactly what we’ve told people – if you get symptoms, go and get retested.”

She said the man had been transferred to Tom’s Court medi-hotel, while his wife is now in another medi-hotel.

There were 128 people at Tenafeate Creek Wines on Sunday between the 1.45pm to 4.30pm exposure time.

Spurrier said SA Health was having difficulty tracking down one person who visited the winery at the exposure time.

She said SA Health was checking the winery’s booking system and CCTV footage to make sure it had identified everyone who was at the site.

There are now eight positive cases linked to the Tenafeate Creek Wines site.

“It really is a super spreading site, or a super spreading event that happened there on that Sunday afternoon,” Spurrier said.

Spurrier said everyone who visited the Greek on Halifax restaurant on Saturday night has been contacted by SA Health and tested.

She said about 100 people who were at the Greek on Halifax restaurant and Tenafeate Creek winery at the exposure times had been placed into hotel quarantine.

The total number of cases linked to the Modbury cluster is now at 15, with about 4000 people in directed 14-day home quarantine.

Only one case – a man aged in his 80s whose infection started the cluster – is in hospital.

Health authorities are still trying to determine how he became infectious.

Barossa Valley winery, TAFE campus added to exposure sites

Randall Wine Group’s flagship Seppeltsfield winery in the Barossa Valley. Photo: Dragan Radocaj Photography

SA Health last night added a northern suburbs TAFE and a Barossa Valley winery to its growing list of COVID-19 exposure sites.

The landmark Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley is listed as a location of concern from 8.45am to 6pm on Monday, July 19.

Spurrier said many people who had been at Seppeltsfield had returned to Adelaide, so there was no need to set up another testing site in the Barossa Valley.

The Regency Campus TAFE SA (G Block) is also listed as a tier one exposure site from 8.30am to 4.30pm on Monday. The C and F Block, iCentral and main entrance of the campus are deemed to be at-risk from 9.45am to 11am on the same day.

Anyone who was at the winery or the TAFE during the listed periods is required to immediately get tested and quarantine for 14 days along with their household contacts.

There are now 79 exposure locations associated with the Modbury cluster.

As today’s new case was not infectious while out in the community, SA Health expects it will not add any new exposure sites today.

Meals on Wheels this morning announced its Hindmarsh branch kitchen is back in operation after a deep industrial clean.

The branch was closed on Tuesday after an employee, who worked in the kitchen on Monday morning, tested positive for COVID-19. Other staff and volunteers present during his shift were also asked to get tested and quarantine.

New testing sites open

The Government has announced four new testing sites at Mile End, Warradale, Para Hills and Harbourtown following another day where demand for COVID-19 tests has led to people waiting up to 12 hours in cars.

The Warradale site at the Army Barracks is opening this weekend and will be staffed by the Australian Defence Force.

The Mile End site at Netball SA will open before the weekend for the general public.

The Harbourtown testing clinic will be open from 7am until 5pm today, while the Para Hills site on Peacock Road will open until midnight today and tomorrow.

WaterWorld Ridgehaven, Aldinga, Hampstead and the Repat will also extend their opening hours until 7.30pm, while the Port Adelaide site will remain open until 5pm.

Yes, the demand and supply got out of sync, but we’ve been able to get that back into sync now

Marshall said people waiting hours in testing queues had experienced “extraordinary frustration”.

He said he had been speaking to a mother who was forced to wait 14 hours in her car.

“It wasn’t a SA Pathology site but it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“We had worked out how we can get her to have that test sometime this morning.

“She wasn’t aggressive or abusive in any way – she just wanted me to be aware of her personal situation and for that I’m very grateful.

“Sometimes in my role I’m hearing a lot about the high-level statistics. What she presented me with was a very compelling personal encounter and I’m fairly sure this is similar for many people who had to line up and some of those people who lined up for many hours were ultimately turned away.”

Marshall said the Government would undertake a review into the long testing queues, but in the meantime, it had “flexed the capacity up”.

“Yes, the demand and supply got out of sync, but we’ve been able to get that back into sync now” he said.

“We will learn from this – we will make sure that we can respond and surge faster in the future.”

Marshall said despite the surge in testing demand, SA Pathology was still able to return testing results within 12 hours.

“(It) is really quite extraordinary, especially when you consider how significantly larger the capacity and the number of results they’ve had to process has been in the past 24 to 48 hours.”

NSW records 136 new cases

NSW has reported 136 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, a new daily high, almost four weeks after Greater Sydney and its surrounds were locked down.

Of the new cases recorded to 8pm on Thursday, at least 70 were not in isolation for all or part of their infectious period.

The isolation status of another 13 persons is under investigation.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s chief health officer had advised the government’s crisis cabinet the outbreak was now a “national emergency”.

“There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we were hoping they would at this stage,” she said.

“It is fairly apparent that we will not be close to zero by next Friday.”

Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded 14 new local COVID-19 cases.

The state’s department of health said all of Friday’s new locally acquired cases were linked to known outbreaks and 10 had been in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

One of the four remaining cases has yet to be interviewed by contact tracers.

The lower figure will further fuel hopes Victoria’s extended restrictions may be eased as planned on July 27.

– with AAP

More to come

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