Monday, January 18

SA ‘is not out of the woods yet,’ as state records new COVID-19 case

South Australia “is not out of the woods yet,” the prime minister said, as the state enters its third day of closure.

The state registered a new case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 37.

The case is a close contact from a previous case and is in quarantine, which “poses no risk” to the community, said SA health director Professor Nicola Spurrier.

There are now 26 cases related to Parafield’s group in Adelaide.

The news comes after yesterday’s revelations about a restaurant worker who lied about his source of infection, sending the state into a swift lockdown.

Marshall said an ongoing investigation into the case has revealed more cases of people issuing “false and misleading information” to contact the trackers.

“It appears that there are several issues to investigate, including who has provided false and misleading information to our communicable disease control branch as part of that important contact tracing,” he said.

More than 19,000 people showed up for testing statewide yesterday, about six times the average number of tests done in the previous weeks.

“This is an extraordinary response and for that I am very grateful. I can also say that we have analyzed those results and we still have no examples of community transmission in South Australia, in fact all the cases that we have identified, we can trace back to their origin.” Marshall said.

More than 5,400 close contacts have been identified in the Adelaide group with Professor Spurrier, who said more positive cases are expected.

Health authorities have yet to contact at least 40 close contacts of the Parafield group.

Professor Spurrier provided a detailed explanation of how the outbreak began in the state.

She revealed that a young doctor heard a cough and decided to do a swab that came back positive.

This initial case was related to a medi-hotel in Adelaide, prompting a test bombing of several hotels in the city.

The bombing revealed a connection to the Stamford Hotel, Professor Spurrier said.

It was this connection that brought about the immediate shutdown of the state.

South Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier is among 16 nominees for South Australia’s Australian of the Year awards for 2021. (Getty)

“Our initial information was that it was someone who was buying a pizza, and that meant there were a lot of other people in Adelaide who would have bought pizza from that pizzeria and there was a long infection period of about 10 days that we were concerned about,” he said Professor Spurrier.

“So putting all that information together was very complicated, but we had the opportunity here in SA to end this and not continue and have community broadcasting that would be longer-term closures and also potentially border controls from other states. “

Pizza worker ‘the last straw’

Professor Spurrier said the decision to block the state was not based solely on the interview with the pizzeria worker.

“We would never make those decisions in isolation from a single piece of information, it is very complex,” he said.

State Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that if the pizza worker had been honest about the source of his infection, the shutdown may not have been instituted.

Police outside the Woodville Pizza Bar after it was announced that a store worker lied to authorities during a COVID investigation, leading to South Australia being closed on November 20, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Getty)

“It is fair to say that if this person had been more direct with us, we would not have instituted a six-day confinement, but as the professor has explained, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“This is the only element that pushed us from the level of restrictions that we were implementing on Tuesday to a much more severe regime.”

Close to raise at midnight

The harsh state lockdown will be lifted as of midnight tonight, however, anyone in quarantine must remain in quarantine until their two weeks are up.

Community sports may not begin, however, school sports will resume at midnight.

You are still “encouraged” to work from home for the next 8-10 days.

Construction and elective surgery will also begin at midnight.

South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall announces a 6-day shutdown for South Australia during the COVID-19 update on November 18, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia.
South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall announces a 6-day shutdown for South Australia during the COVID-19 update on November 18, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Getty)

Swimming classes, dance classes and indoor fitness classes may also continue once restrictions are eased.

Marshall said the government was not considering compensation for companies that may have lost money as a result of the closure.

“Compensation is not something we are contemplating at this time,” he said.

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