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January 21, 2022

Detection of new COVID-19 variants in Queensland

Latest News

First Byron Shire Council meeting postponed

Byron Shire Council’s first meeting of newly minted councillors was to take place today, 20 January, however, the storm of COVID-19 that is taking place across the country led to it being postponed.

Other News

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The Northern NSW Local Health District say that to 8pm yesterday, January 17, there were confirmed 1,114 new PCR cases of COVID-19.

Ocean Shores DA threat to biodiversity, say residents

A proposal to subdivide one lot (2,097m2) into three lots, and build two dwellings and three secondary dwellings, in densly forested riparian land in North Ocean Shores would create ‘Gold-Coast-style overdevelopment’, say residents.

Community the big winner at Rotary Duck Race

The Richmond River at Fawcett Park in Ballina was full of colour on the weekend for the 30th Rotary Duck Race. The event has raised a quarter of a million dollars for charity over its history in Ballina.

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.

Tests have confirmed a traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Queensland is infected with a new variant of the virus.

The woman, who travelled from South Africa, has been transferred to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for treatment.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said genome sequencing revealed the woman, who arrived in Brisbane on 22 December, was infected with a new variant of COVID-19 believed to have originated in South Africa. This is different to the variant recently detected in the United Kingdom.

More contagious than the common COVID-19

‘This new variant is a concern as it is believed to be more contagious than the common variant of COVID-19 identified in Australia,’ said Dr Young.

‘The woman was routinely placed into hotel quarantine upon arrival. All of the other passengers aboard her flight are also in hotel quarantine and being closely monitored.

‘We’ve confirmed that all health staff who have had contact with her since she arrived complied with our strict infection control measures and wore appropriate PPE.

This case poses very low risk to the community

‘This case poses very low risk to the community and that shows how important policies like hotel quarantine are in protecting Queenslanders.’

Today, Queensland recorded two new cases, both of whom were also infected overseas and were detected in hotel quarantine. The state’s total cases has risen to 1,248, of which 11 are active.

Routine wastewater testing has also returned positive results for viral fragments of COVID-19 in sewage at treatment plants in seven locations across the state.

Viral fragments were detected in treatment plants located in five greater Brisbane locations – Victoria Point, Oxley Creek, Goodna, Fairfield and Redcliffe – as well as Cairns North and Nambour.

Positive sewage results

Dr Young said continued positive sewage results, collected on December 22 and 23, are particularly concerning given the New South Wales cluster.

‘We are concerned given this is the first time we’ve had seven locations test positive at the same time,’ she said.

‘We have continued to enhance our sewage testing strategy to help detect the virus. What we don’t know is if a positive sewage result is due to a new case, a case that’s still developing, or an old case that is still shedding.

‘A positive sewage result means that someone who has been infected was shedding the virus. Infected people can shed viral fragments and that shedding can happen for several weeks after the person is no longer infectious.

‘While this doesn’t necessarily mean we have new cases of COVID-19 in these communities, I continue to treat this with absolute caution given the Avalon cluster in New South Wales continues to grow and many people are travelling at this time of year.

‘When you are out and about over the holiday period, I can’t stress enough how important it to be vigilant and practice social distancing, good hand hygiene and stay home if you’re sick.

‘This is no time to be complacent. We want to make sure Queenslanders can enjoy a Happy New Year, and welcome 2021 COVID-19 free.’

Get tested immediately if you have any COVID-19 symptoms

Dr Young said given the positive results, she was especially calling on people across south east Queensland and the Cairns region to get tested immediately if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild.

‘It’s so important to get tested,’ said Dr Young.

‘In particular, if you live in these areas and you have been in New South Wales recently, please come forward and get tested regardless of whether or not you have symptoms.

‘If there is a case in the community, it is critical we detect it through our testing mechanisms as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread and protect the great progress Queensland has made in recent months.

‘But I also want to reassure the community, local drinking water is thoroughly treated through processes that are designed to remove or kill microorganisms before they reach your taps – so there is no risk when drinking water, showering, watering the garden, swimming or other activities.’

To access a full list of COVID-19 testing locations, with interactive map and post code search, visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-informed/testing-and-fever-clinics


Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

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1,114 cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Rivers in last 24...

The Northern NSW Local Health District say that to 8pm yesterday, January 17, there were confirmed 1,114 new PCR cases of COVID-19.

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The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

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At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.

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Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.

1

Record breaking day of COVID deaths as Hillsong sings and dances...

As New South Wales breaks another COVID record with 29 lives lost in a single day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke to the media this morning with an update on the pandemic.

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The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.

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What do you do next if you test positive to COVID?

With more than a third of callers to the National Coronavirus Helpline asking about isolation, healthdirect has launched a guide to help those who are COVID-19 positive know what they should do while isolating at home and when to seek medical help.

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Govt offer pandemic payments 

There is now financial support of up to $750 per week for individuals who have lost work because they have had to isolate – or if you are caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine owing to COVID-19.

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Frontline health workers supported

It started, in classic Byron style, with a batch of bliss balls. The homemade treats were whipped up for the nurses at Byron Hospital by local, Sarah Armstrong, after she heard how challenging life had been for them during the Omicron outbreak.

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