Possible new virus case drove into SA

By | December 24, 2020

South Australians have been alerted to a possible new COVID-19 case after a man drove into the state from Victoria on Monday.

The man, in his twenties, had earlier been on-board a Darwin-to-Sydney flight which had a positive COVID-19 case.

“The thing that was made it a little bit difficult for our staff to put two and two together was that they were quite widely separated on that flight,” SA’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said on Thursday.

After arriving at Sydney Airport the man flew into Wodonga before driving into SA.

However despite being on the flight with the positive case, Prof Spurrier said authorities were confident his was an old case and the man’s positive result was due to him most likely shedding the virus.

This would mean he was not infectious at any point while travelling through those locations.

“The way that test works is we get a bit of an idea about how much virus is in the sample and it depends on how many times the sample has to be amplified to be able to pick up positive results,” she said.

“I was informed it was a weakly positive result but it was a definite positive result.

“We obviously put plans into place to have that person and close contacts moved into our medi-hotels and also we were able to get very rapid testing of those close contacts.”

Prof Spurrier said she was notified of the possible new case in the state late yesterday.

“As per our directions he has to have a COVID-19 test and he did that. We received that result last night,” she said.

The man is in isolation in Adelaide with family.

Prof Spurrier said there would not be a need to change restrictions for Christmas but health authorities would monitor the situation.

Earlier today, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant announced every person who was on a flight from Darwin to Sydney were being considered as close contacts of a Qantas employee who tested positive to the virus.

She said authorities were also investigating “another possible case” that may be linked, which was a South Australian who tested negative in NSW.

“We’re just trying to work out the nature of that test result whether it is a false positive or it is an old infection,” Dr Chant said.

“It is very scant information and I apologise we sometimes don’t have the full picture but it is important that we take that cautionary action initially while we are getting further information to hand.”

The second case recorded in SA on Thursday was a man in his 70s who is in a medi-hotel.

It brings the state’s total number of cases to 568, with four considered active.

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