Rocky COVID-19 nurse tested again as taskforce is set up
THE Rockhampton nursing home nurse who tested positive to COVID-19 last Thursday has tested positive a second time.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young revealed this during a press conference outside the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre this morning seeking to address community concerns that the facility could turn into a coronavirus hotspot like Australia has seen erupt in other states.
Mr Miles confirmed that the infected staff member was cooperative and had consented to another test which confirmed that they were both positive.
"This is the one active case in Queensland that we're concerned about," Mr Miles said.
He also advised that 20 volunteer nurses had flown into Rockhampton to assist staff at the North Rockhampton centre.
Since the news was revealed about the positive test on May 14, Queensland Health had enacted their rapid response plan which included widespread contact tracing and testing of the people who have come into contact with the nurse including staff and the centre's 114 residents.
A command centre was set up by Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service with 20 extra staff provided.
Mr Miles said they had prepared for a situation where there were up to 1000 cases a day and all of those resources were now being brought to bear on addressing this case in Rockhampton.
He said an independent external investigation into the incident should happen rapidly so that the lessons could be learnt and the knowledge passed onto other sites.
Queensland Ambulance Service has supported an operation to relocate 35 residents to the Mater, Hillcrest and Rockhampton hospitals, allowing all impacted residents to have their own rooms and private bathrooms.
All of the residents and staff have tested negative with the exception of one staff member who was yet to be tested due to being away on leave.
iPads were being provided to the nursing home residents to allow them to have contact with their families during their time in isolation.
Dr Young said there were two new cases in Queensland - both recently returned from overseas.
Of the 14 new cases in the last 14 days, only the case in Rockhampton was acquired within the community with the rest from overseas.
There was concern as it was still unclear where the nurse acquired the case.
Dr Young said it was most likely she picked up the virus in Brisbane and she wasn't infectious on the flights to and from Brisbane.
There was an outside possibility that she was infected on one of the flights or in the Rockhampton community.
She said the next 11 days would be critical to see if new cases emerged and urged locals to get tested if they felt even mild symptoms.
"Get tested, don't second guess yourself," Dr Young said.
She said the nurse who tested positive had been very cooperative since the positive result but they needed to work out what exactly happened prior to her being tested.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga thanked all of the health staff and urged anyone feeling symptoms to visit fever clinics established at the Capricorn Coast Hosptial, Rockhampton Hospital or the new drive through clinic at CQUniversity.
You can also present for testing at your local GP but you should call ahead to advise staff.