South Australia hit with COVID-19 outbreak after failed quarantine

South Australia is grappling with a new COVID-19 outbreak involving a cluster of 17 positive cases, which has been linked back to a quarantine hotel:

Seventeen coronavirus cases have now been linked to a cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer says.

The new cases are linked to four community cases announced yesterday.

Nicola Spurrier said the Port Adelaide Hungry Jack’s has closed because a staff member worked there while infectious.

Mawson Lakes Primary School and Preschool and the Parafield Plaza Supermarket have also closed.

Thomas More College in Salisbury Downs also announced it was closing today because of a positive coronavirus case.

SA Health yesterday said an 80-year-old woman tested positive after being treated at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in the city’s north.

She had visited the supermarket on Thursday.

Two of her close contacts — a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s — have also tested positive for the illness.

Another person connected with the Yatala Labour Prison was also diagnosed.

Two of the new cases worked while infectious at an aged care facility that Dr Spurrier would not name, as did the Hungry Jack’s restaurant staff member…

Dr Spurrier said a lot of pathology testing was done yesterday and overnight, particular among those connected with the “large family” in which the first three cases originated.

“We just kept getting positives coming off the machine,” Dr Spurrier told ABC Radio Adelaide.

She said it was “very clear” the cluster was linked with a medi-hotel, where one of the infected people worked.

“We haven’t got the genomics yet, but I’m absolutely certain it has come from a medi-hotel,” she said.

Medi-hotels are hotels used by incoming travellers and local residents who can’t safely quarantine at home.

It’s South Australia’s first batch of community cases since April, and the Morrison Government has offered Australian Defence Force (ADF) support:

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he had received advice that SA’s contact tracing system was strong.

“We are standing up the National Incident Centre contact tracing capability to assist SA,” he told ABC Breakfast.

“If South Australia requires the Australian Defence Force, then the Prime Minister has offered to make them available.

“If more is required, more will be provided.”

Meanwhile, West Australia is now requiring that all arrivals from South Australia self isolate for 14 days and undergo COVID-19 testing:

Passengers on a Sunday flight from Adelaide to Perth were shocked to be told they had to go into two weeks’ quarantine on ­arrival, despite the West Australian government only hours earlier assuring South Australians they could enter the state without having to isolate.

From 12.01am on Saturday when WA’s closed border changed to a controlled border, residents from all states and territories except NSW and Victoria had been free to travel to WA without quarantining for two weeks.

The passengers, who were on a flight landing mid-afternoon Perth time, were due to be met by WA police and told to undergo a COVID-19 test and self-isolate for 14 days after disembarking.

The WA Chief Health Officer was forced to make the change in light of news of three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in SA after a quarantine hotel worker infected their family members…

South Australians crossing the Nullarbor by vehicle will face the same restrictions.

Let’s hope South Australia’s contact tracing is up to par and it quickly gets on top of the situation. The last thing Australia needs as it heads into Christmas is more border closures and shutdowns.

Unconventional Economist
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