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SA COVID cases hit parliament, Government House


South Australia’s governing institutions have been hit by the state’s first community transmission of COVID-19 since borders reopened last week, with parliament shut down this morning and an administrator to take the place of the SA Governor who is in isolation after a negative test.

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Authorities are chasing multiple potential seeding events for the virus, while InDaily understands a worker at an CBD office tested positive for COVID after returning from Victoria over the weekend.

The worker attended the office on Monday and Tuesday before developing symptoms and getting tested.

At time of publication today, SA Health has not confirmed any more cases or exposure sites.

SA Governor Frances Adamson is meanwhile in isolation as a close contact of COVID-positive former Premier Jay Weatherill, after the two met at an event on Sunday, the evening after he was believed to have contracted the virus at a school reunion in Norwood.

Adamson has tested negative but will remain in isolation according to SA Health advice.

A Government House spokesperson revealed to InDaily that in addition to Adamson, another staff member has also been sent into isolation.

“I can confirm one Government House staff member is also in isolation on advice from SA Health,” the spokesperson said.

The Lieutenant-Governor, Professor Brenda Wilson AM, has been appointed as Administrator of the state for the period of the governor’s isolation.

In the days after the encounter with Weatherill Adamson met with state and local government officials, toured the Woodcroft Community Centre, opened the Southern Materials Waste Recovery Facility, attended a luncheon at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre, and visited Aldinga Sports Park.

Weatherill on Sunday was also photographed with Labor Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and former Deputy Premier John Rau at Parlamento restaurant – both of whom were last night getting tested before isolating.

Malinauskas has since received a negative result.

“I’ve heard absolutely nothing from SA health,” Malinauskas told InDaily on Thursday morning. “So I’m just operating from the matrix and what has been publicly reported. I’m assuming I’m a close contact until I’m told otherwise.”

Parlamento co-owner Raffaele Simeone told InDaily on Thursday morning he was continuing business as usual as he awaits direction from SA Health.

“SA Health haven’t contacted us, and we’re not on the latest exposure sites, so I’m awaiting direction,” he told InDaily.

Simeone said he was “fuming” at reports Weatherill had dined at Parlamento, saying the trio had a coffee outside for twenty minutes and did not go indoors.

A spokesperson for SA Health told InDaily contact tracers are working through the list of exposure sites and contacts, and expressed confidence they were “looking into” whether Parlamento will be officially listed and that Malinauskas will be contacted.

“We expect he’ll be contacted to check in about his condition,” the spokesperson said.

Rau told InDaily he was “so far so good” but that he was “getting tested just to be safe”. He has since tested negative.

“This is just the beginning of the trouble that ‘opening up’ will cause,” he said.

“Look at Europe now to see what the future may look like – it’s not pretty.”

Weatherill told InDaily he was now in 14 days quarantine before a further two weeks when he returns to WA.

He said he was feeling “a bit ordinary” but was “just apologetic for all the inconvenience I’ve caused”.

Following advice from SA Health, the morning sessions of the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council were both adjourned and members of parliament have been advised to avoid in-person meetings.

In a letter to Parliament House staff, new directions include only allowing essential staff and visitors to enter the building, dining rooms to be subject to density limits, masks to be worn at all times, and tours scheduled for this week are to be cancelled.

Parliament will resume this afternoon with essential workers and social distancing requirements in place.

7 News reported that an Adelaide mother who attended the Saturday function with Weatherill, understood to have been a Henley High School 40th anniversary class reunion at Theatre Bugs, had also returned a positive result after being tested.

The event triggered an alert from SA Health yesterday afternoon to confirm that “two men in their 50s who are South Australian residents” had tested positive after attending “the same event in South Australia, with interstate travellers also attending the same event”.

“While the cases are currently under investigation, we believe the virus was passed on from an interstate traveller at the event,” SA Health said in a statement.

SA Health has so far confirmed listed five exposure sites at Norwood, Glenelg, Unley and the city connected to the locally acquired cases, with other sites aren’t yet listed.

Waiting times at the Victoria Park COVID testing site surged overnight.

The Education Department also last night tweeted that Ocean View College will be closed today after a member of the school community tested COVID-positive, with contacts to be notified.

Weatherill had also done the media rounds, including an in-studio appearance with FIVEaa hosts David Penberthy and Will Goodings. As a result, FIVEaa staff are in isolation, including breakfast presenters David Penberthy and Will Goodings who broadcast from their homes this morning.

Weatherill was also a guest speaker at another event alongside epidemiologist Sally Brinkman, Darlington Children’s Centre director David Coulter, prominent child psychiatrist Jon Jureidini and labour movement boss Sonia Romeo.

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