Queensland’s COVID-19 cluster has grown by eight cases overnight, as millions of residents wake to their first day of lockdown.
Greater Brisbane was on Monday night plunged into a three-day lockdown, after a cluster of the highly virulent UK strain emerged in the community.
There are now 15 cases linked to “two distinct clusters” which both emerged from the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said six of the cases are close contacts of previously confirmed cases, and two are under investigation.
There are 78 cases active in the state. Two new cases were detected in hotel quarantine on Tuesday.
She said there were now two clear clusters, one linked to a doctor from Princess Alexandra Hospital who was detected earlier this month, and a second linked to the nurse wh worked on the COVID-19 vaccine before she had been vaccinated. She and her sister were included in Monday’s number.
“The nurse worked at the PA Hospital on March 18 in the COVID ward. We now have the genome sequence result back… She has exactly the same genome to a gentleman who arrived and was treated in the PA Hospital and was tested on March 22,” Dr Young said.
“She did do a shift on the night of March 23.
“My hypothesis… She has acquired the infection when at work… But I don’t know whether she got it directly from that patient, because she wasn’t working with COVID cases that night… or whether she’s got it from someone else in the hospital.
“That all has to be worked through.”
The state’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said five of the new cases were related to the nurse.
“They all attended a party together down in Byron Bay,” she said.
The sixth case is most likely linked to the same cluster.
“Then the (sixth) case I still need to get more information (on), but I’ve been told is a close contact of a known case,” Dr Young said.
The other two are so far unlinked and are under investigation but Dr Young said she believed they were “older cases” linked to the doctor’s cluster.
“I’m very grateful to that first young man who came forward and got tested,” Dr Young said.
The nurse and her sister spent the weekend at Byron Bay while unknowingly infectious, while one of the men spent a number of days in Gladstone.
No new cases were detected in NSW overnight, despite the women visiting two major locations.
As a result, a mask mandate and other restrictions have been imposed for the entire state, while Greater Brisbane residents are now only permitted to leave their home for four essential reasons.
More than two million people living m in Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan and Ipswich council areas can only go outside for essentials, for medical care, to exercise, and to work and study if they cannot do so at home.