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COVID-19: GP Alert (5 November 2021)

November 05, 2021

NEW – Three new cases in Queensland

The three new community cases in Queensland are all linked and located in Goondiwindi:
  • a woman in her teens who is a close contact of a known cluster in Moree (there have been 16 cases in the last three days associated with this cluster) – her household contacts (three people) have so far tested negative
  • a woman in her 20s who has been infectious in the community for four days and who recently received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • a woman in her 30s who has been infectious in the community for five days and is not vaccinated.

All cases will be transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital today, weather permitting.

A fourth person of interest from New South Wales has also been in Goondiwindi for one day doing essential shopping.

Goondiwindi has very high vaccination rates with 93.1 per cent of the eligible population having received one dose and 83.5 per cent are fully vaccinated. This means the town does not have to go into lockdown and further highlights that COVID-19 will predominantly infect the unvaccinated.

In general, border communities in the Darling Downs and South West HHSs have had an outstanding response to calls to get vaccinated. The HHSs and private providers are also working to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccination rates in the region through partnering with community organisations and leaders, offering multiple outreach clinics, providing transport services to and from vaccination clinics, and doorknocking.

Separately, a Victorian truck driver spent approximately six hours in Brisbane and is considered low risk. Four close contacts are being followed up. He is not thought to be linked to the above cases.

Exposure sites have been updated on the contact tracing website.

REMINDER - Free fit testing for general practices

There are currently spots still available for the Free Fit Testing being undertaken in Stanthorpe, Dalby, Gatton, Warwick and Kingaroy.

For those practices that have already booked staff in please feel free to include additional staff that would also benefit from this service.

For those practices that have not booked any staff please note:
  • Community based care of COVID-19 positive patients is being emphasised moving forward as evidenced by last Friday’s announcement by the Federal Government of a $180 million dollar package to support primary care to support cases of COVID patients recovering at home. As such, GPs in your practice could potentially be treating patients with COVID-19. Given that infection control is critical in managing the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that healthcare workers be fit tested for the appropriate P2/N95 mask as part of appropriate PPE preparedness. If a GP becomes COVID positive they will have to quarantine for 14 days under the current guidelines.
  • What is a P2/N95 mask? A P2/N95 mask provides a higher level of protection than a basic surgical mask and is used when airborne precautions are required - (RACGP)
  • What is fit testing? Fit testing is a validated method to determine whether a specific make, model and size of respirator achieves an adequate seal on an individual’s face - (Queensland Health)
  • The test takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and masks will be supplied.

To book please use the below links:

UPDATE - Booster doses

A reminder that booster doses will be available next week for those included in the ATAGI recommendations released 27 October. This includes:
  • People at greater risk of severe COVID-19: individuals aged 50 years and older, those with underlying medical conditions, residents of aged care and disability facilities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. In these groups the benefit of a booster dose is primarily to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19.
  • People at increased occupational risk of COVID-19: a booster dose for individuals in this group is expected to reduce their likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated occupation-related impacts, acknowledging that infection will be mostly mild in these individuals due to prior vaccination and younger age. Booster doses may also reduce the potential for infected individuals to transmit SARS-CoV-2, although evidence for this is currently limited

Staff of designated COVID hospitals are already able to access their booster dose at their workplace. From next week, booster doses will be available at most vaccine locations in Queensland (note that Spikevax is not yet TGA approved for booster doses).

NEW - Vaccinology and immunisation science course

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) have launched a new Course in Vaccinology
and Immunisation Science.

The online course is for people relatively new to vaccines and for those wanting to broaden and update their understanding of vaccines, vaccine development and the principles underpinning the introduction and running of immunisation programs.

More information can be found here.