People waiting to be tested at the COVID pop up clinic at the Byron Bay Surf Club near Main Beach on Tuesday.
People waiting to be tested at the COVID pop up clinic at the Byron Bay Surf Club near Main Beach on Tuesday.

Five new QLD COVID cases linked to Byron Bay

UPDATE 4.30pm: There are now seven confirmed cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 in a cluster linked to a hen's party in Byron Bay.

All of those confirmed infected people have returned to Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed the state recorded 10 new cases overnight, eight of them from community transmission and the remaining two from overseas.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said genome sequencing indicated this cluster originated from a man who was a returned traveller from India who was being treated at Brisbane's PA Hospital.

Although it's not clear how they came into contact, a nurse who worked at the hospital - but not in the COVID ward while that man was present - is believed to have contracted the virus while on shift on March 23.

Her sister also became infected and on Tuesday morning, authorities confirmed five more people were infected with the same strain.

They were all close contacts from the hen's party, one of them a Gold Coast tradie who worked at the party as an entertainer.

Two of Queensland's new cases are still under investigation and may be linked to a separate cluster, linked with a PA Hospital doctor.

The nurse linked with the hen's party cluster worked in the COVID ward on March 18, Dr Young said.

"She has exactly the same genome (as)  a gentleman who arrived and was treated in the PA Hospital and was tested on March 22, after the nurse worked in the COVID ward," Dr Young said.

"She did do a shift on the night of March 23.

"My hypothesis and this all has to be tested … is she had acquired the infection when at work that night (although) she wasn't working with COVID cases that night.

"There were a further five cases that I've been informed of overnight linked to that nurse or her sister.

"They're all linked cases.

"They all attended a party together down in Byron Bay."

Dr Young said while the fact these cases were linked meant there wasn't rampant, unexplained community transmission, it was still possible other infectious people had been in the community before Brisbane's three-day lockdown began.

 

 

Original story: Byron Shire Council has reiterated calls for locals to present for COVID-19 testing as the number of positive Queensland cases linked to a hens party in Byron Bay has grown.

"Intensive cleaning" has been meanwhile taking place at an affected holiday park in Suffolk Park.

"Queensland Health has announced five more people who were in a group that stayed at Byron Bay last weekend - and returned to Queensland - have tested positive for COVID-19," the council said in a statement.

"The announcement was made during a press conference in Brisbane.

"Late yesterday NSW Health released more information about venues that were visited by two people who were infectious and people were asked to check the dates and times and have a test and follow isolation instructions."

See the full list of affected venues in Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Ewingsdale here.

"Today, NSW Health has added further venues to their list of close contact venues including Mokha Café (patrons who sat in the Feros Arcade laneway) on 27 March from 11am until 12pm and Betty's Burgers and Concrete Co. on 27 March from 11am until 12pm," the council said.

People waiting to be tested at the COVID clinic in Byron Central Hospital on Tuesday, March 30.
People waiting to be tested at the COVID clinic in Byron Central Hospital on Tuesday, March 30.

"People should refer to NSW Health's website if they have been at either of these venues and follow isolation and testing instructions."

NSW Health opened extra testing centres in Byron Bay and other local areas from Monday.

As well as Byron Central Hospital, people can attend the Cavanbah Centre on Ewingsdale Road and the Byron Bay Surf Club for testing.

For other testing clinics in your area, visit this website.

"Council is working with Belgravia, council's service manager for the Suffolk Park Holiday Park which has been identified as a COVID contact venue," the council said.

"The holiday park is owned by Byron Shire Council but managed by the Belgravia Leisure group.

 

Drive -through COVID testing at Byron Bay's Cavanbah Centre on Tuesday, March 30.
Drive -through COVID testing at Byron Bay's Cavanbah Centre on Tuesday, March 30.

 

"The toilet block at the holiday park has been closed for intensive cleaning and in the meantime the facilities at the nearby Suffolk Park Community Hall have been opened.

"Council has also increased its sewage treatment testing to include all sewerage treatment plants in the Byron Shire including Ocean Shores, Byron Bay, Bangalow and Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plants.

"Council is urging anyone with questions about Bluesfest, which is planned for the Easter weekend, to contact Bluesfest organisers or NSW Health for information as Council is not the consent authority for the event.

"In the meantime NSW Health is asking anyone in the Byron Bay area who has even the mildest of symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, or fatigue to get tested."

COVID testing locations including operating hours

For updates on venues of concern and health advice visit this site


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