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Queensland Health says it 'would still expect to see cases' over coming days from recent cluster

Authorities warn against complacency, saying the state could still see more COVID-19 cases in the community over coming days, but so far Easter holiday plans won't be ruined.

Queensland Health says it's "far, far" too early to relax, despite believing they've found the missing link between the recent cluster of cases, and a doctor who tested positive to the virus earlier this month.

Key points:
  • Authorities are confident they have identified the missing link between two COVID clusters in Brisbane
  • A man identified on Sunday through contact tracing was no longer infectious
  • The link between him and the PA Hospital cluster is "highly likely" says Jeannette Young

The man, the third to be confirmed as positive in this recent cluster, was identified through contract tracing.

He is the brother of the first man identified and was not infectious at the time of testing, but serology results indicate he previously had been.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said she believed the third man links the Princess Alexandra Hospital cluster to the most recent one.

"This guy is perfectly well, fully recovered and was picked up through our contact tracing process," Dr Young said.

"We tested him [and his] his PCR is negative so he's not currently infectious.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic as Brisbane enters a three-day lockdown.

"His serology is reactive and it suggests that he has had the infection and recovered."

PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, is a nucleic acid test used to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA and is the "gold standard" for diagnosis of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.

Dr Young said that while the third man may have been a historical case, she felt it was more likely to be a recent case. 

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:

"It's most likely that he's had [COVID] recently and is one of those missing links between the doctor who worked at the PA Hospital and this most recent cluster," she said.

However, Dr Young said the link could not be confirmed as genome sequencing was unable to be done.

"We won't have absolute proof about this new case because he doesn't have any virus that we can sequence — but it is highly likely," she said.

Dr Young said any contact tracing information related to the man's movements would be released, if appropriate.

"He may or may not have been infectious in those locations, so we just have to work through all that information," she said.

"If he has been in a location and infectious, then of course we will release it."

She warned against complacency, saying the state could still see more cases in the community.

"It is good to see that despite the enormous increase in testing, which I'm very grateful for, we have not had any other cases," she said.

"It's far, far too early to relax because we know our two current cases have been out infectious in the community for past week. So we would still expect to see cases."

Hopes for Easter holiday 'relief' 

With Easter holidays just days away, the tourism industry is hopeful the latest COVID cluster stays under control, allowing operators to cash in on the busy holiday period.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) boss Daniel Gschwind said the State Government's decision not to plunge the south-east into lockdown was good news for the sector.

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The Queenslander sign in the NSW-Queensland border town of Wallangarra in Queensland on October 8, 2020.The Queenslander sign in the NSW-Queensland border town of Wallangarra in Queensland on October 8, 2020.

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"We are confident now that Easter will indeed be the relief that we had hoped for," he said.

"There are strong bookings across the state and we believe it will be just what the industry needs."

Many holidaymakers and tourism operators are breathing a sigh of relief that a potential growth in the cluster has been averted.

It follows news that the second man who had been confirmed as positive did not host a house party with 25 friends while infectious. 

Lots of people gathered at Noosa main beach with umbrellasLots of people gathered at Noosa main beach with umbrellas
Queensland Health are asking holidaymakers to maintain social distancing while they are on their Easter holiday.(

Supplied

)

Queensland Health admitted a "misunderstanding" had occurred and the man was at home with five household contacts.

It is understood one of the five people at the house does not live there permanently but has been classed as a housemate because he had been there for a number of days.

"Uncertainty is the last thing we need," Mr Gschwind said.

"We are an industry built on consumer confidence [from] travellers who are certain they can get about and do what they want to do and get home again.

"That's what we need and that's what we're rebuilding at the moment."

Further updates will be given by Queensland Health today as contact tracing continues in Brisbane and Moreton Bay.

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