A restaurant in a major Brisbane shopping centre has been identified as the likely source of transmission of a series of unlinked COVID-19 cases.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has revealed a staff member at Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital visited the Zeus Street Greek restaurant at Westfield Chermside, in the city’s north on Saturday, June 26.
At least two workers at the hospital – a 19-year-old female receptionist, who travelled to Townsville with her family, and a healthcare worker in her 50s – have tested positive.
A Sunshine Coast man was at the restaurant as the same time as one of the hospital staffers.
The Aroona man in his 50s, a worker at the Sippy Downs campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast, tested positive late on Friday.
Young also revealed a Brisbane man, 29, who tested positive was also at the restaurant.
He had travelled to Eumundi on June 27 for a holiday.
His infection has been linked to one of his relatives – a case discovered last week as part of a cluster linked to the Greek Orthodox Community Centre in Brisbane.
“We are just working out all of the specifics, but we think that is probably the site of transmission where this has occurred,” Young said on Monday.
Young indicated that it was suspected the Greek community centre cluster is linked to another cluster which spread when a woman dined at a Portuguese restaurant after leaving hotel quarantine before she tested positive last month.
Dozens of cases
“At this stage, we now have 23 cases related to the Portuguese restaurant and the Greek community centre and I haven’t found the exact link yet, other than the genome sequence between those two clusters,” Young said.
“We are just doing some more work there. But for everyone else, we believe we have found both the genome sequence link and the epi-link.
“That means this cluster of the Alpha variant is all coming together and we’re finding out where all the issues are.
“We need a bit longer to work through this, to manage all of the cases.”
Young said she expects there to be more locally acquired cases linked to the cluster.
But she now believes there is no spread of the highly infectious Delta variant in the Queensland community.
That’s even with other clusters recently found in the state, including those related to a Sydney-based Virgin flight attendant who repeatedly flew to Queensland while potentially infectious and two southeast mine workers who caught the Delta strain in the Northern Territory.
“We have done a lot of testing around all of those and not found any cases,” Young said.
“We know that the Delta virus tends to transmit fairly quickly.
“We have got an incubation period of 14 days and we could see that, but we know that the vast majority would transmit fairly early on in their incubation period and we have done all that testing and not found any cases.
“We are not totally out of the woods yet but I am fairly comfortable.”