SA Heath apologise after man wrongly accused of breaching quarantine

SA’s top public health officer has apologised to the man who went shopping while infectious with COVID-19 after it was found “he did nothing wrong.”

SA Health’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the man “was never directed to quarantine by SA Health or SAPOL and therefore has done nothing wrong” because he was a casual contact.

“There was no further communication from SA Health with this individual following his negative test result,” she said.

“He has not breached quarantine and he has been fully cooperative with our contact tracing efforts which are aimed at stopping the spread of the virus any further.

“I would personally like to apologise for this miscommunication and thank him for continuing to work with us.”

The reversal came as authorities announced the state was on track to ease restrictions on Tuesday, after recording zero new infections on Monday.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier personally apologised to the man for the miscommunication.
Camera IconChief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier personally apologised to the man for the miscommunication. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe

On Sunday, it was announced that a man had breached his quarantine and gone on a shopping spree, visiting seven businesses across Adelaide while infectious on the previous Sunday.

Hundreds of shoppers have been asked to get tested if they attended the same locations as the infected man.

The man, in his 30s, is a student at the Intensive English Language Institute located at Flinders University’s Sturt campus.

On Monday SA’s deputy chief public health officer Emily Kirkpatrick said the man was a casual contact who had in fact done the right thing by getting tested on day one and day 12.

The man was told to get tested and self-isolate until he received a negative result, and get another test 12 days later.

He tested positive to the day-12 test.

“He was never given a formal direction to quarantine for the 14 days … He did get tested on day one and isolated until his test results came back negative,” Ms Kirkpatrick said.

“This person has done the right thing and was part of the casual contact group under a lower risk profile so it is important to emphasise we’re not about blaming individuals. We’re about making sure people go and get tested.

“We at SA Health have cast the net widely to make sure we are not missed individuals as part of this … so that will ensure there is no need to differentiate casual and close contacts.

“Everyone is included under that direction and required to get tested on day one and 12 so there should not be any confusion going forward.

“It has been a very confusing two weeks for the community … so fingers crossed we get through this quickly.”

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in SA on Monday.
Camera IconThere have been no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in SA on Monday. Credit: News Corp Australia, Dean Martin

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, who is also the State Coordinator, said he was “pleased to announce” there would be no late changes following the promising zero cases on Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with (SA) Health over the weekend and today and we’re still on track for midnight tonight to take that first step towards where we want to be by December 14,” he said.

Under the changes, a 1 per 4 sqm density will remain for indoor activities but a 1 per 2 sqm rule applies outdoors and stand-up drinking will be allowed.

A patron cap in licensed premises will be removed on the proviso that QR code readers are used at all venues.

Funerals and private functions can have up to 150 people with stand-up drinking, while weddings, also capped at 150, can have drinking and dancing.

However, a cap of 10 people remains for home gatherings.

Community sport will resume under modified plans to limit potential virus spread.

A SA Health COVID management plan will need to be approved for gatherings of up to 1000 people and at nightclubs.

Masks are also required in Allied Health, residential care, and personal care services.

South Australia’s border with Victoria will open at midnight on Monday.
Camera IconSouth Australia’s border with Victoria will open at midnight on Monday. Credit: News Corp Australia, Jake Nowakowski

The border with Victoria will open at midnight on Monday.

“We still require people to do the online pre approval process … It will be as streamlined as possible,” Commissioner Stevens said.

“One major factor for us (police) is the volume of people travelling to and from SA. We don‘t want to inhibit people anymore than we need to but we need to know that what we’re doing does something to minimise risk.’

There were 4234 tests conducted on Sunday, something Ms Kirkpatrick was thrilled about.

She again urged anyone experiencing the mildest of symptoms to get tested immediately and stressed the importance of wearing a mask.

“We’ve seen a fantastic uptake of testing this morning and yesterday so very pleased to see that,” she said.

“We are expecting to see that number significantly higher tomorrow as we see more results coming through the laboratory.”

People were seen queuing at the Thebarton and Kurralta Park pop up testing sites early Monday morning.

Ms Kirkpatrick said the testing site at the Thebarton Community Centre will remain open until Friday.

A testing station was set up at Kmart Kurralta Park after SA Health urged those who visited some main locations around Adelaide to be tested urgently.
Camera IconA testing station was set up at Kmart Kurralta Park after SA Health urged those who visited some main locations around Adelaide to be tested urgently. Credit: News Corp Australia, Dean Martin

The state’s total number of coronavirus cases remains at 561, with 14 considered active.

There are 33 cases still connected to the Parafield cluster, with about 1300 people quarantining over links to the group.

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Two cases of coronavirus first thought to be contracted overseas now linked to local cluster: SA Health

Authorities in South Australia say two coronavirus cases previously believed to be acquired overseas have now been linked to the local cluster.

SA Health said on Tuesday afternoon testing had been undertaken on two cases that had previously been identified as overseas-acquired infections.

It can now be revealed the pair have the same strain of the virus as the patients in the Parafield cluster, bringing the total number of people infected to 29.

They are staying at the Peppers Waymouth medi-hotel, which was involved in the outbreak that led to the brief statewide shutdown last week.

“There is no additional risk to the public as the cases are linked to a medi-hotel staff member who has previously tested positive for COVID-19, and contact tracing has previously been undertaken,” SA Health said in a statement.

“As a precaution, we are undertaking additional testing at one of our medi-hotels for all staff and guests today.”

One of the two cases had been announced earlier in the day as the state’s only new coronavirus infection.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the man, who is in his 20s, was a close contact of a previously confirmed overseas arrival, and remains in a medi-hotel.

She said the state was another step closer to busting its COVID-19 cluster, but warned the public to remain cautious.

“I haven’t popped the cork on the champagne bottle yet but it is on ice,” she said.

“We haven’t finished the job yet and every South Australian has their part to play.

“I’d like to see how we go this week, to see the testing numbers go up. As we’ve said with previous clusters, we’d like to see two full incubation cycles so we have a bit of a way to go but I’m feeling quietly confident … we can get back to where our restrictions were.”

SA has recorded one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday.
Camera IconSA has recorded one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday. Credit: News Corp Australia

There were 6822 tests done on Monday, which Dr Spurrier said was “a little bit of a drop” compared to last week’s numbers.

More than 670,000 tests have so far been conducted statewide.

“Even if you think it’s not COVID, I want you to get yourself to a COVID testing site and get tested regardless of where you are in the state,” she said.

“Anybody who has any symptoms whatsoever or feeling not quite yourself, go and get tested.”

She also urged people to continue wearing masks in places they could not physically distance, like on public transport and in shops and shopping centres.

“There are really nice ones on the market … and when people are going out in public, have one ready in your back pocket.

“I’m sure the people serving in the shops will be most grateful that you’re wearing one.”

Premier Steven Marshall said the state was in a good position to stare down the second wave.

“This could have been a potentially catastrophic situation in SA but the swift and decisive actions taken following that unequivocal health advice has put us in a very good position,” he said.

“I want to thank every single South Australian for playing their role in making sure that we didn’t have this second wave.”

The new infection is not linked to the Parafield cluster, which has 27 infections connected.

It brings the state’s total number of cases to 557 with 39 considered active.

More than 4000 people are still quarantining.

The man in his 30s who was previously hospitalised has been released.

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