Murray Olds: Covid fears after Victorian man diagnosed with Covid-19

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A number of South Australian medi-hotel workers have been put into isolation after a Victorian man tested positive to COVID-19 a week after arriving home.
The man, in his 30s, recently returned to Australia from overseas and undertook hotel quarantine in the Playford Hotel in Adelaide’s CBD.
He arrived in Victoria and returned to his home in Wollert on May 4, developing symptoms four days later.
The Victorian health department said a “full public health response” was underway.
He got tested on Monday and returned a positive result on Tuesday.
It means the state’s run of 74 days without any local coronavirus cases has now been broken.
The health department said further tests had been arranged urgently to confirm the diagnosis.
“Until then, the department is treating this as a positive case and acting accordingly,” it said on Tuesday.
“The individual is being interviewed and exposure sites are being verified.”
The man is isolated at home along with his household primary close contacts, who are being interviewed and will be urgently tested.
The department said it’s working with interstate counterparts to determine the source of infection.
South Australian chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said all medi-hotel staff that worked on the floor where the Victorian man resided were required to isolate until they received a negative COVID-19 result.
She said health authorities were investigating “a number of potential hypotheses”, with one of them being that the person was exposed to the virus prior to arriving in Australia and had a longer than normal incubation period.
Another option is that the man contracted the virus while quarantining.
“We know that is possible in some people, that they have a long incubation period longer than 14 days,” Professor Spurrier said.
“(But) people are aware that this (transmission within the hotel) has happened in other hotels so this is obviously right at the top of our minds.
She said the Victorian man returned negative results to all coronavirus tests conducted during his quarantine, but confirmed he was in a room adjacent to a separate confirmed case who tested positive on day 9 of their isolation.
That infected person was transferred from the Playford Hotel to the state’s dedicated COVID-19 positive facility at Tom’s Court.
However, Professor Spurrier said there was a possibility the virus was transmitted during that time.
She added there were no breaches at the hotel after CCTV footage was reviewed, suggesting the hotel’s ventilation in the passageway could have played a part.
“We will know what the genomic make up will be in the person who is still in Tom’s Court… then we’ll be able match that up and see.
“Once we have the genomics back, things will be much clearer.”
Professor Spurrier said she did not believe the man was infectious while in South Australia after he left hotel quarantine.
It comes after employees at a Melbourne CBD health business were sent home on Tuesday morning as a precaution, following a COVID-19 scare, the Herald Sun reports.
The workers at Citadel Health at 459 Collins Street were told to go home and work from there, with the company liaising with the health department, the newspaper said.
The health department is urging anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills or sweats, or a change in sense of smell or taste, to immediately get tested.
The department said on Tuesday it would release a list of potential exposure sites once they were verified.
More than 8000 vaccine doses were administered in Victoria on Monday and almost 13,000 COVID-19 test results were received.
This latest incident comes after two months after a man who contracted the virus in Perth hotel quarantine and flew home to Melbourne while unknowingly infectious.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the man contracted the virus while quarantining at the Mercure Hotel in Perth, where he stayed for 14 days.
He was notified by authorities i...

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