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New COVID-19 case prompts reminder for vigilance

6 June 2020

Queensland Health has launched a rapid response plan after a farm worker in the Wide Bay region tested positive to COVID-19.

The man, 24, was diagnosed yesterday after arriving from Victoria earlier this week, taking Queensland’s tally to 1,061.

He flew from Melbourne to Brisbane on Virgin VA313 on Monday. The next day he flew on Virgin VA2905 on to Bundaberg, where he was starting work as a picker on a strawberry farm.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the man, who entered the state as an exempt seasonal worker under the Border Direction, had performed one shift before being diagnosed with coronavirus.

“It’s very likely this person was infected by a confirmed case in Victoria, where there is evidence of ongoing community transmission,” she said.

“Currently, he has mild symptoms and is in isolation in Bundaberg under clinical supervision.”

Dr Young said the department immediately launched a rapid response public health plan to protect Queenslanders following the diagnosis.

Contact tracing is underway in Bundaberg and Brisbane and on two flights – Virgin VA313 (Melbourne-Brisbane) and Virgin VA2905 (Brisbane-Bundaberg).

“This person spent more than a day in Brisbane visiting family and friends, all of whom are being tested and quarantined,” Dr Young said.

“He has provided a lot of information to Queensland Health and we’re working to identify potential contacts based on his movements.

“We have established a pop-up clinic has been set up at the strawberry farm and has already tested all workers. Fever clinics remain open at Bundaberg Hospital and Brisbane’s main hospitals and all are ready for an increase in patients this weekend.”

Dr Young said strawberries from the Bundaberg farm – and any other farm – were perfectly safe to eat.

“There is absolutely no risk to consumers who have not been in direct contact with the case,” she said.

“The farm has been extremely cooperative and is helping us make sure we protect their workers and the broader community.”

Dr Young said the latest case highlighted the need for all people to seek medical attention if they had symptoms.

“This is the time for heightened alertness,” she said.

“It’s important that anyone who feels unwell, not only in Bundaberg or Brisbane but anywhere in Queensland, gets tested and self-isolates until the results are known.

“This applies to people who have attended large gatherings today and over the past week. Queenslanders have done extremely well to keep COVID-19 cases to a minimum but now is not the time to get complacent and undo all our good work.”

Passengers of the Virgin flights, who have not already been contacted, are urged to call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

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Last updated: 6 June 2020