Scary headlines from Adelaide's Advertiser newspaper Monday November 16th 2020
I'm really glad I have a stockpile of disposable surgical masks, it looks like I might be needing them.
Here's the news, as written: (the headlines are in bold)
Revealed Virus outbreak linked to medi-hotel, wider quarantine ordered
A large family with members working in high-risk medi-hotels, aged care, health care and a major prison has recorded three COVID-19 cases in one day, the worst SA cluster to date. The cases are the first community transmission in the state since April 15.
Four others in the family are displaying symptoms, while hundreds of people in the northern suburbs have potentially been exposed to the virus. Scores of staff at Lyell McEwin hospital, where one of the patients was tested, have also been told to quarantine.
Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier, said detailed contact tracing began yesterday after she received the positive lab results for one of the patients, a woman in her 80s. She said the Parafield cluster was already considered more dangerous than the one at Thebarton Senior College earlier this year because it involved many public venues.
Mawson Lakes School and Preschool were closed today for at least 24 hours out of an "abundance of caution"; a student is a close contact of a confirmed case.
The Western Australian government yesterday imposed two weeks quarantine on all passengers flying in from SA.
(Continued page 2)
Adelaide Cluster worst since pandemic began
Prof Spurrier said it was too early to rule out whether people at the Adelaide Oval Christmas Pageant on Saturday had been exposed.
Shoppers who were at the Parafield Plaza supermarket centre between 10:30am and 11:30am last Thursday have been told to get tested. The woman aged in her 80s spent 20 minutes sopping at the centre that day. More venues are expected soon to be named and people who attended at certain times advised to be tested.
Also infected are a child of the woman in her 80s, and that person's partner-one of them works at Peppers medi-hotel holding quarantined patients. An alert was yesterday issued about Yatala Prison saying a staff member had tested positive.
Mandatory testing every seven days ahs now been implemented for all staff and guests at all medi-hotels, because of the likelihood the family member's work there was the source of the outbreak.
Prof Spurrier said the new cases were "very troubling". She said the patients had a very large family, spent a lot of time together, had many close family contacts and jobs in highly sensitive workplaces. The 80 year old woman is believed to have been infected last Tuesday. She started showing symptoms two days later on November 12 but was not tested until November 14. A "large effort" in contact tracing began early on Sunday, Prof Spurrier said, with dozens of tests on family members already carried out.
A media conference at 3:15pm yesterday was delayed by 15 minutes as testing was returned confirming the two additional cases, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s.
Prof Spurrier, who is bracing for more new cases, said any South Australian with flu-like symptoms should immediately present for a test, "This is exactly when we need people with symptoms to be tested," she said.
The Parafield cluster emerged when the woman in her 80s, now at the RAH in a stable condition, was tested at the Lyell McEwin Hospital emergency department. SA Health has urged anyone who was in that department between 5:30pm on Friday and 4am Saturday to get tested. The woman was wearing a mask at the hospital but 90 people, staff and patients have been ordered to quarantine.
The diagnosis by SA Health is unusual because, of the cases so far identified in SA, only nine were locally acquired and the last was on April 15. A fourth new case yesterday, a man in his 30s, is a returned overseas traveller diagnosed in hotel quarantine.
Prof Spurrier said the Victorian border opening next month was not under review and neither were any crowd number restrictions in SA. Prof Spurrier said others at Lyell McEwin Hospital may have been exposed. "Today I am urging anyone in SA with any respiratory symptoms to get a COVID-19 test," she said. "There has been a drop off in testing numbers...this is the only way we are going to be able to stamp this out."
High risk sites where the family members work have been contacted, including aged care, health care and corrections sectors.
My opinion, which matters little:
1. we shouldn't have allowed so many returning Australians in so soon, the medi-hotels are almost at capacity
2. large gatherings even within families should still be discouraged when the people are working in places where they could come into contact with infected people.
So there you have it. Adelaide, or at least the northern suburbs, joins the rest of the world. And once again, I am putting myself into restricted outings again. No frivolous walks on the beach, or even around the block, no riding on buses to go anywhere, shopping to be done as speedily as possible. Get in, pick up the needed items and get out, fast. Even though I am far away from those northern suburbs and probably not at risk (yet) I won't be taking any chances. Because of my age and my asthma.