Aged care staffer worked two days while COVID-positive


AN aged care staff member at a Laidley nursing home worked for about two days while infectious with the pandemiccoronavirus, but health authorities say the risk to residents is "very low" because she was wearing personal protective equipment.

The employee, in her 30s, works at Karinya Place, but did not have direct contact with residents. She was one of two new cases of COVID-19 reported in Queensland yesterday, including a man, also in his 30s.

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Both new cases are known to each other and are linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre-Queensland Correctional Services Academy cluster, which has grown to 30 people.

COVID-19 testing at Laidley Hospital after a staff member at Carinity's Karinya Place aged care home tested positive. Picture: Tara Croser
COVID-19 testing at Laidley Hospital after a staff member at Carinity's Karinya Place aged care home tested positive. Picture: Tara Croser

Last night, the first round of testing on 44 residents at the Carinity aged care facility came back negative.

Staff members will also undergo testing and those who have had contact with the infected employee have been placed into quarantine.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young praised the aged care worker for getting tested as soon as she developed symptoms of COVID-19.

"Fortunately, that staff worker did not work while symptomatic," Dr Young said.

"We know that you're actually most infectious before you have symptoms. But because of the process that was put in place getting aged care facilities … to manage the risks, to use personal protective equipment, the risk for that facility is very low."

Despite the ongoing growth of Queensland's latest cluster, identified more than a fortnight ago, Dr Young said she was starting to see signs it was being brought under control, although it was too early to declare it had been solved.

Karinya Place aged care home at Laidley. Picture: Tara Croser
Karinya Place aged care home at Laidley. Picture: Tara Croser

She said it was important for Queenslanders to continue to limit gatherings to 10 people, and urged them to rethink giving their Dad a hug this Father's Day, unless they lived in the same household.

"Delay your hugs for Father's Day till this is all over because that is the best gift," Dr Young said.

"You don't want to give your father COVID-19. But see them, talk to them. Human interaction is absolutely critical."

Queensland's latest two infections take the total number of known COVID-19 cases in the state to 1128, including 30 that remain active.

Joy Mutzelburg, 95, lives across the road from the Karinya aged care facility and has friends who are residents. 

"As far as I know they are all right, might be a bit upset now that they are closed off," she said. 

Ms Mutzelburg said residents would usually be taken out into the garden with a worker, however yesterday residents remained indoors. 

95-year-old Joy Mutzelburg lives opposite Carinity's Karinya Place aged care home at Laidley where a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. Picture: Tara Croser.
95-year-old Joy Mutzelburg lives opposite Carinity's Karinya Place aged care home at Laidley where a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. Picture: Tara Croser.

Angelique Rhodes who lives in the nearby suburb of Mount Tarampa said she was not surprised to hear COVID-19 had made its way to the Lockyer Valley. 

"It's the new normal, I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon," she said. 

"I run the basketball club and I'm up at the aquatic centre quite a bit and everybody seems to be doing the right thing, even before this, when you go shopping people are keeping their distance. 

"We've just got to be careful, be safe and adjust to the new normal."

Chief Health Officer of Queensland Jeannette Young. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Attila Csaszar
Chief Health Officer of Queensland Jeannette Young. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Attila Csaszar

Dr Young yesterday repeated her strict stance on reopening the Queensland border to NSW, saying it would have to report zero community transmission of the novel coronavirus for 28 days.

"The standard is that we keep Queenslanders safe, that we know the highest risk of bringing the virus into the state is from areas that have higher amounts of community transmission," Dr Young said.

"At this point in time, the trigger to open the border to NSW is when they've had two incubation periods of no community transmission."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has told reporters she "doesn't know anywhere on the planet" which could meet Queensland's stringent protocols on the border.

"I don't know if we'll ever get to that case, that number," she said.

Originally published as Aged care staffer worked two days while COVID-positive


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