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Covid arrives in Weipa after Thursday Island cases rise

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It comes after multiple cases were recorded on Thursday Island on Wednesday.The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has issued an exposure site for Qantas flight QF2480 from Cairns to Weipa on Wednesday, December 29.Close contacts who were seated in rows 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 are urged to get tested immediately.“Our public health team will carry out contact tracing and all persons impacted will be supported through the tracing, testing and quarantine process,” the TCHHS has advised. Cairns’ tally also spiked by 25 cases on Wednesday, while a childcare centre closed its doors after a child was confirmed to have the virus. WEDNESDAY: Eight cases of Covid-19 have been detected on Thursday Island, health authorities have confirmed.A number of exposure sites including a Qantas flight have been released and the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service is carrying out contact tracing. “The individuals are being managed in a virtual ward at a home with appropriate medical and nursing oversight and monitoring,” Chief Executive Beverley Hamerton said. “All close family contacts have been traced and are being managed.”Thursday Island Covid exposure sitesQueensland chief health officer Dr John Gerrard announced the first Thursday Island case on Wednesday morning and said the person had done “all the right things”.“They were fully vaccinated, they got tested, and isolated straight away when the test result came back,” Dr Gerrard said.“At this stage it appears they’ve acquired the infection interstate,” he said.Dr Gerrard said it was a reminder of how critical it was for all Queenslanders to be vaccinated, regardless of how remote they were. “This can strike us anywhere.”A further 25 cases have also been recorded in the Cairns and Hinterland area, taking the city’s tally to 71 active cases. LIST: FAR NORTH EXPOSURE SITESQueensland recorded 1589 new cases of Covid in the past 24 hours. It comes as the Queensland Government announced the PCR test for travellers would be scrapped from January 1, and Dr Gerrard confirmed authorities are “pulling back” on contact tracing. TUESDAY: The region has recorded another 21 new cases of Covid-19 across the Far North on Tuesday as the State Government scraps the requirement for a day five Covid test for interstate travellers. There are now active cases across Cairns Regional Council, Cook Shire Council, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council, Douglas Shire Council, Mareeba Shire Council and Tablelands Regional Council.Health authorities said there was a new case reported for Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council but the case had been in Cairns the whole time they were infectious. According to Queensland Health data, there are currently 68 active cases in the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area.New exposure sites were listed on Monday evening. Statewide, Queensland recorded 1158 new cases on Tuesday – the first time the number has topped 1000 in a 24-hour period. MONDAY: A TOTAL of 77 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in the Cairns and Hinterland region in one week, health authorities have confirmed.It comes as the region recorded 11 new cases on Monday, on top of 10 which were confirmed on Boxing Day. The 11 cases were among 784 new cases in Queensland overnight. Dr Annie Preston-Thomas, from the Tropical Public Health Services (Cairns), said there were cases in Cairns, Mareeba, Innisfail, Atherton, Kuranda and surrounding areas. “So what that means is that we’ve got cases all throughout our communities,” she said. “If you’re out and about in the community it’s possible that you could come in contact with someone who has Covid-19.”“Covid-19 is circulating in our community.”Dr Thomas said multiple local cases had been at the Elements Festival at the Sunshine Coast Hinterland between December 17-19. “Anyone who was at the festival is asked to get tested or if any of their close family or friends have symptoms – please get tested,” she said. According to Queensland Health data, 55 cases remain active in the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area.As cases rise, there was pressure on Covid testing clinics on Boxing Day. Christine Allgood from Gordonvale drove to Cairns North to get a test as everywhere else was closed. Ms Allgood registered then got a ticket and waited for a test for over three hours, but she said the hospital did a fantastic job as she didn’t have to stand in a line. “One of the nurses brought out cold water for people. I think they are trying to do the best they can,” she said. Ms Allgood got tested because she received a text on Christmas Day saying she had been at a casual contact site. But she said that people need to get used to the new reality. “We haven’t really seen it before but now that borders have opened we have to expect it’s going to happen,” she said. Harrison Craig-Ward from the Gold Coast has had to get many Covid tests as he is a FIFO worker but said he was very impressed with the way Cairns Hospital organised it. “I rocked up today to a three hour wait but it was so good. They give you a time. You don’t have to wait in a line and you don’t lose your spot,” he said. Mr Craig-Ward said he was surprised at how good it was because when he was trying to find where to get tested, the website was hard to manage. Due to the demand, testing at Cairns Hospital and the Aumuller Street testing Clinic at Portsmith extended to 6pm on Sunday. A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said over the Christmas period 1208 people got tested on Christmas Eve and 365 people on Christmas Day. “We are seeing high demand for testing and we encourage anyone one with Covid-19 symptoms to immediately get tested,” she said. CHHHS spokeswoman said most cases currently being diagnosed have been managed through a virtual Covid ward and are in isolation. Over the festive period the rise in Covid cases across Queensland also forced cancellations across major airlines.On Christmas Eve, multiple Jetstar and Virgin flights were cancelled. A Jetstar spokeswoman said the late flight cancellations were a result of airline staff having to test for Covid-19 and isolate as close contacts.On Boxing Day, a couple more flights were also cancelled with Jetstar and Virgin. A Cairns Airport spokeswoman said to expect that this will continue to happen. She said airlines were consolidating flights to meet demand but she said they would usually shift people to a flight on the same day. “It’s not that people aren’t getting to their destinations, it’s something airlines might have to do right now,” the spokeswoman said. Over the festive period the Far North recorded 22 new cases on Christmas Day and nine on Christmas Eve. andreas.nicola@news.com.auWhere to get tested FNQ



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