300 more SA Health staff to trace coronavirus contacts, more cases overnight after Qantas baggage handlers test positive
SA Health will get 300 more staff to help trace the contacts of coronavirus patients in SA, as more cases emerged overnight linked to the six Qantas baggage handlers that tested positive.
The 300 new staff are from a variety of places and include medical students and people from the public sector, depending on their skills.
The tracing staff will need to interview patients and try to track down their contacts to see who else may have been infected.
Almost 27,500 tests have been conducted in SA across 54 separate testing sites, including 48 in regional areas.
The testing time in SA is down to 17 hours and is being conducted around the clock.
There are about 1500 tests done per day, but that’s set to rise to 2000 per day and even higher.
SA has performed 15,000 tests per million of population, ahead of Australia’s average of 10,000 per million, and ahead of Italy, South Korea, Spain and other countries.
More cases overnight linked to Qantas staff
More coronavirus cases have been confirmed overnight, connected to six Qantas Adelaide Airport baggage handlers who tested positive to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
SA’s chief public health officer, associate professor Dr Nicola Spurrier, said “several” new cases emerged after tests were done overnight. However, she did not have exact figures.
“There have been several more cases overnight and I don’t have further details but I will be able to update people later in the day about that,” Dr Spurrier told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“It’s goes to show how transmissible this virus is, particularly when you have people working in close proximity to each other.”
SA Health reported 32 new cases on Tuesday, including six airline workers, only 24 hours after the state recorded one of its lowest daily infection rates.
Renmark North Primary School will also close today, April 1, after a staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19.
As authorities raced to identity the airport cluster source, more than 100 Qantas baggage handlers were placed in a 14-day quarantine.
SA Health and the embattled carrier scrambled to maintain baggage operations as travellers were urged to clean luggage.
Any airport visitor since Monday is urged to seek urgent testing if feeling unwell.
Service SA shuts down some functions indefinitely
A range of Service SA functions will be put on ice as part of social-distancing measures required to slow coronavirus, as people are urged to do as much as they can online.
Services to stall indefinitely during the health crisis include practical driving assessments for medical reasons, Rider Safe training and assessment courses, and learner theory.
The Government is also suspending “non-essential transactions” at its physical centres, which include the issue of custom number plates, proof-of-age cards, training and assessment of applicants for a motor driving instructor licences and the need for most people to attend a medical practitioner to complete a certificate of fitness to retain a driver’s licence.
It follows other disease-control measures already implemented including a request to use eftpos rather than cash, 1.5m separation lines, changes to seating spacing and restrictions on how many customers can enter a centre at once.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said the Government was doing everything it could to make Service SA centres safe for users and staff.
Staff are also regularly wiping down all surface areas, and customers who are unwell when they present to centres are being asked not to enter.
“I appreciate that these temporary changes may take some time to get used to but it’s important for the health and safety of everyone involved that we reduce the number of people having face-to-face interactions at our Service SA centres,” Mr Knoll said.
Mr Knoll urged people to visit www.service.sa.gov.au or call 13 10 84 if needing help.