How new test uncovered Cairns Hospital cluster
A NEW cluster of COVID-19 cases has been recorded in the Cairns Hospital after a laboratory worker from Brisbane tested positive.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said a Brisbane technician tested positive after travelling to Cairns a month ago.
Initial contract tracing was conducted in the pathology lab which didn't confirm anything, however another lab worker tested positive last week.
Another three people who work in that lab have also tested positive overnight via the new serology testing which tests blood.
This tests whether someone has previously had the infection, mounted an antibody response and has recovered.
The later four cases are suspected to have contracted the infection after the initial Brisbane worker visited the lab.
But how exactly is not known, with Dr Young stating there would have been "multiple generations" over the last month.
Dr Young said authorities were now screening all staff at the Cairns Hospital for any symptoms and were looking at all staff who had access to the pathology.
"It's a cluster that's occurred so we need to get on top of it so it's really important that anyone who lives in Cairns who has any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, any of those respiratory symptoms, comes forward and gets tested," she said.
"We haven't seen a lot of cases in Cairns, I would suspect if there was a widespread problem that we would have seen a lot more cases because Cairns has had community testing for any symptoms of COVID-19 in place now for two weeks and we've not seen significant numbers of cases."
Dr Young said there probably needed to be two incubation periods of no cases - which is 28 days - before "you can safely say that you're not going to get more cases".
"That's the case for the whole country," she said.
Originally published as How new test uncovered Cairns Hospital cluster