Cluster cause revealed as CHO defends funeral restrictions

 

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says after extensive testing, the most likely cause of southeast Queensland's COVID-19 clusters were the two Logan women who travelled to Melbourne.

"We didn't find the first case in this cluster, we found a subsequent case and that's why it's taken longer to get on top of it," Dr Young said.

She said more than 1 million tests of COVID-19 have been done in Queensland since the pandemic started.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.

Dr Young said a team of 80 people were assessing thousands of exemption requests every day.

She said she was personally assessing exemption requests when she was getting up to 100 a day but as the requests soared, she handed over the role to the new team.

"Every single one of those exemption requests are taken very seriously," she said.

Dr Young said tough restrictions on funerals were necessary considering the COVID-19 risk those gatherings posed

"While I understand the emotional toll it is taking on people who are coming to Queensland for the funeral of loved ones … they can't do that until they've been in quarantine for 14 days because the last thing I want is an outbreak at a funeral," she said.

"By definition, there are older people attending funerals.

"They're in a very, very risky environment for spread."

When Dr Young was asked by reporters if she was holding a press conference to take the heat off Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over the funeral standoff, she said: "I just wanted to give some information because I haven't stood up for a few days because I've been very, very busy trying to get on top of these clusters".

Dr Young said she was constantly looking at allowing exemptions for people who would support the economy including film and entertainment, agriculture, resources and mining.

'If it is safe, I look at how it could be done," she said.

Dr Young said she would look at exemptions for anything that would benefit the community and the economy.

It comes after there were no new cases of coronavirus in Queensland overnight as the state recorded a new milestone.

Meanwhile, Queensland health workers have secured extra leave for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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