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

NEW CLUSTER

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. 

Comments

  1. Being cautious won't hurt you. Being careless might.
    I do think that you could (with a mask) go for a walk around the block though, so long as you can keep a space between you and other walkers.
    I hope that your state gets on top of it. Soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elephant's Child; a mask is a good idea, but if people work from home again, they will ALL be out walking/running around the streets again and our footpaths here are narrow, so everytime I'm the one who steps out of the way for a runner, usually into a pile of you-know-what :(

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  2. Thanks for the update and your thoughts R. It's such a shame this has happened when all 'was' going so well, someone was just so careless it seems in my view.
    Good on you for doing what you are going to do - you keep safe and take care.

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    Replies
    1. Margaret D; my understanding is that a medi-hotel worker caught this from a returned traveller and spread it through her family, her very large family. This is why I'm of the opinion we should not have allowed so many returning travellers into SA even going straight into quarantine. On the other hand all healthcare workers in the hotels should have been wearing masks and other protective gear and probably were, so who really knows how it was transmitted.

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  3. Oh, will "we" ever get it under control?
    Getting outside is important, even if it´s your garden. And I think, not that it matters much, either, that when you keep a big distance you should be safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iris Flavia; yes a distance from others should be safe, but when others are sneezing (probably from hayfever as I do) or if they are breathing heavily through the mouth while running for exercise, the exhaled droplets can spread far wider. I think I'm reasonably safe on my side of the city so far, but I will be watching the news every night so track the spread. My garden is barely big enough to grow things, walking in it would take three steps one way and ten steps the other way.

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  4. Pfizer has a vaccine and next winter we should be safe. Meanwhile we must take care. Choose masks and hand sanitizer and Lysol and social distancing and beware those who do not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Granny Annie; I've heard about the vaccines being developed and I'm glad that is happening, but this virus acts a bit like the flu and mutates fairly quickly I've heard, so new vaccines will have to be updated every year just like the flu vaccine, so there's a lot of work to be done yet. At least I have plenty of masks on hand.

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  5. I am impressed with the contact tracing you do which enables you to nip this in the bud. Wish we did that and our numbers are crazy now. We are all in for a bumpy ride yet.

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    Replies
    1. Arkansas Patti; I'm glad our people jump aboard the people tracking and cleaning of schools, shops etc, also glad that when told to stay home or wear masks we Aussies do exactly that. We obey restrictions too, which is harder for some, especially when we didn't have any or very little virus here way back in the beginning, but with our growing cluster I think more young people will see the sense in staying away from possible danger spots like pubs etc

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  6. This is so out of hand. People here in my area still go out into stores without a mask. One of the stores I went into before I got off work, guessing only. But it looks like only half people had there mask on. And as enter there a sign saying "Mandatory Mask"
    The only reason I shop there compare to the other less people use the store.
    Anyhow I took one client over to other store. So he could get a few things. He said he and employees was the only one with mask on.
    Stay Safe and Coffee is on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dora; I will be staying home where it is safe as much as possible, but wear a mask if I have to use public transport. If the cluster grows and spreads I will wear a mask to the shop too.

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  7. Quite scary, i hope you stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. messymimi; I plan to stay safe, if the virus spreads to my side of the city I'll be staying inside my home, not even visit the neighbours.

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  8. I didn't know it was so crowded in your area. I hope you can at least get outside for 10-15 minutes, to soak up some sunlight to give your body vitamin D. Maybe sit in your garden? Unless there are people tromping by all the time, within 6 feet!

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    Replies
    1. Val; Adelaide city has about 1.5 million people I think, I live in a suburb within 40-50 minutes walking distance to the city, 20 minutes by bus, 5 minutes by car. My current home is just one flat in a complex of 110, although about six of those are two storey townhouses. (with two bedrooms, those lucky buggers). I can sit on my front porch and soak up all the sunshine I need, the garden is full of mosquitos at sunrise and sunset hours. My vitamin D levels are excellent all year round. Take a trip via google earth to see Fullarton South Australia.

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  9. That's a horror show indeed, River, so many cases. We are still safe out here but one case coming in from our rotational works not heeding the 2 week self-isolation, could see us like you as many don't wear masks and their contacts are astronomical.

    I meanwhile don't associate with anyone in my building physically as they are all maskless.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WWW; even more cases now, five new ones yesterday and two more overnight. Our daily newspaper lists each area where people should get tested if they have been to that area on a particular day at certain times.

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  10. Take good care down your way, River. I hope you and your loved ones, near and afar...are all well.

    A hug for you...and a cuddle for Lola. :)

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