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COVID-19: GP Alert (30 March 2021)

March 30, 2021

Queensland case update

Please note: Given the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape in Queensland, health care professionals and community are urged to remain vigilant.

Please also note that two locations in Toowoomba have been added to the Queensland Health's contact tracing webpage.

Whole genome sequencing results have identified two distinct clusters in Queensland. All cases have the B117 genome (also known as the UK variant) but are distinct phylogenetically:

One cluster is associated with a doctor from the PA Hospital.

  • This doctor treated a COVID-positive patient and acquired COVID-19 from the patient.
  • Another traveller also acquired this strain in hotel quarantine on 12 March.
  • This cluster includes the two men from Brisbane’s northside announced late last week / early this week.

The second cluster is associated with a nurse from the PA Hospital.

  • Genome sequence results link that case to a COVID-positive patient treated at the PA who tested positive on 22 March.
  • The nurse worked a night shift at the hospital on 23 March however as yet the exact transmission event is not yet identified.
  • The Chief Health Officer’s current hypothesis – which she states requires further testing to confirm – is that the nurse acquired the infection when at work.
  • This case’s sister has been confirmed to have the same genome.
  • Testing of other staff at the hospital is underway.

Of the 6 new locally acquired cases overnight, 5 are linked to the second cluster. There is now a total of 7 in that cluster. One of these 5 cases visited an aged care facility on the Gold Coast whilst infectious but all of the residents at this facility are believed to have had their first COVID-19 vaccination. Even just one dose of the vaccine affords good protection from severe COVID infection.

The last case is still being worked through but is thought to be a close contact of a known case.

The remaining 2 cases are in the early stages of investigation and further details are not yet available.

The list of affected venues is updated regularly as new information comes to hand and can be found online. Please continue to monitor this frequently for clear advice for managing both patients and staff exposure.

UPDATE - PPE supplies from the PHN

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN is currently organising the delivery of a limited supply of PPE to general practices across the Darling Downs and West Moreton region. This includes:

  • surgical masks, and
  • gowns (to general practices operating in 'moderate risk' declared areas)

You should receive your delivery of PPE in the coming days.

Should you have any enquiries regarding PPE supplies, please contact our Primary Care Liaison team via email practicesupport@ddwmphn.com.au

REMINDER - GP respiratory clinics extending hours of operation and testing asymptomatic people

NOW UNDERTAKING TARGETED TESTING OF ASYMPTOMATIC PEOPLE

GP respiratory clinics in Queensland are now conducting targeted asymptomatic testing as on patients self-presenting for COVID-19 testing who have been directed by jurisdictional public health authorities to get tested. Please refer to Queensland Health's contact tracing webpage for more information.

This allowance is in place until Sunday, 11 April 2021. Patients who meet this remit should be directed to make an appointment with one of the six (6) GP respiratory clinics located in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region. For details of these clinics, visit www.ddwmphn.com.au/covid-19

GP RESPIRATORY CLINICS EXTENDED HOURS IN LINE WITH DEMAND

GP respiratory clinics have increased their hours of operation to cater to testing demand. Please direct your patients to call the clinics directly for appointment availability.

There are six (6) GP respiratory clinics in the region. Details for these can be found on our COVID-19 webpage.

COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

GPs are reminded that Queensland Health fever clinics are available for COVID-19 testing only and do not provide the COVID-19 vaccine.

GP respiratory clinics are available to both test people for COVID-19 and provide the vaccine to people eligible under Phase 1b of the vaccine roll-out.

Eligible people include:

  • people aged over 70
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55
  • adults with a specified medical condition
  • healthcare workers, and
  • critical high-risk workers.

Your patients can confirm their eligibility and find a vaccination clinic using the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Phase 1b COVID-19 vaccine rollout - key messages from the Department of Health

Access to vaccines for under 18s:

  • The TGA has not approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 18. As such people under 18 should not attend primary care vaccine provider sites even if they meet broader Phase 1b criterion.
  • The eligibility checker has been updated so anyone under 18 years is not prompted to book through the vaccine clinic finder.
  • If individuals under the age of 18 present for vaccination they should not be given an AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Whilst Pfizer is approved for people aged 16 years and above, discussions are underway with the states and territories to test if the Pfizer hubs can be accessed by people who are aged between 16 and 18 years and are eligible in Phase 1b. At this stage states and territories are continuing to prioritise their 1a population.

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: