Children remain in lockdown after guard with coronavirus worked at Brisbane youth detention centre

alex brown

Children at a Brisbane youth detention centre remain in lockdown as health authorities anxiously await coronavirus test results to determine if a staff member could be the state’s first community transmission in a month. The 77-year-old supervisor at Brisbane’s Youth Detention Centre in Wacol had continued to work while infectious […]

Children at a Brisbane youth detention centre remain in lockdown as health authorities anxiously await coronavirus test results to determine if a staff member could be the state’s first community transmission in a month.

The 77-year-old supervisor at Brisbane’s Youth Detention Centre in Wacol had continued to work while infectious with COVID-19.

As of Friday morning, 56 tests from centre staff and residents had returned negative results, with no other new cases recorded across Queensland.  

Health Minister Steven Miles said health authorities have tested 75 of the centre’s 127 young residents who have been isolated in their rooms since Wednesday evening.

Testing on the centre’s 500 staff is also expected to be completed later on Friday.

Health authorities are also testing recent detainees who had left or had been moved from the centre before the lockdown was imposed.

 

“The Brisbane youth centre did have policies in place, and we’ll see what the result of that is after having had a case in the centre,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

“Hopefully with all of the very rigorous policies, it won’t get spread there.”

The centre will not be taking new admissions and all face-to-face visits and court appearances have been cancelled.

Testing on the centre’s 500 staff is also expected to be completed later on Friday.

Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said the infected worker, from Ipswich, had “very, very mild” symptoms when diagnosed, and was in a stable condition in hospital.

“That is why, no matter how mild your symptoms are or, if people say you’ve got something, you’re not sure, get yourself tested,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Youth Justice told SBS News they would follow the advice of Queensland health about when young people could resume normal activities. 

“A mental health unit and other medical staff are permanently based at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and are working to take care of the young people’s physical and mental wellbeing,” the spokeperson said. 

“Behaviour support teams are also working with young people to address the types of issues young people may be experiencing during this time.”

The latest case comes after a virus scare was linked to a false positive result in southeast Queensland last month.

But the state’s Chief Health Officer is confident the case was genuine after the woman recorded a second positive coronavirus test.

“I must admit when I got the first result the other night, I did question it because there were no links,” Dr Young said.

“I asked for a second test to be done immediately which was done, and it was definitely positive so I’m absolutely, totally confident this is an actual [positive] test.”

WATCH: Queensland youth detention centre worker went to work sick with COVID-19

Queensland Health is conducting contact tracing to discover if the latest case has any connection to an outbreak last month linked to two Logan women who dodged quarantine after visiting Melbourne.

“That’s what we’re trying to get to the bottom of, if there is any unknown, community transmissions here,” Mr Miles told ABC Radio.

The genomic sequencing of the most recent case will be returned next week.

One historic case linked to the first wave of infections has also been added to the state’s tally.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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