South-east Queensland is on alert this morning and scores of people are lining up to be tested after a couple who left Victoria during lockdown tested positive to COVID-19 over the past two days on the Sunshine Coast.
- The couple left Victoria on June 1, amid the state’s COVID-19 lockdown
- Authorities are investigating why they left the state and travelled through NSW to Queensland
- Both are currently in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, with the husband also testing positive to the virus
Queensland Health has detailed the exposure sites where the woman and man visited between Goondiwindi and the Sunshine Coast between the June 5 and June 8.
The chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, this morning told media that the woman’s husband had now also returned a positive result.
Anyone who has visited these sites is asked to get tested, self isolate and follow instructions from Queensland Health.
On the back of an already tough year, business owners who have had to deep clean their premises overnight are devastated.
Pierre Mortensen, the owner of Coffee Cat on Kings Beach — one of the listed exposure sites — hoped people would continue to support the business, despite the scare.
He said it had been a tough 12 months for small businesses in the region.
« We have to keep open, otherwise we won’t survive, » Mr Mortensen said.
Mr Mortensen said the cafe had undergone a deep clean since the case came to light and the business reopened to customers this morning.
« It’s a very hard sell to try to let people know we are safe and clean and a safe place to come and enjoy a coffee, » Mr Mortensen said.
« Basically, the way to do our procedures is every customer could be the potential person who has [COVID-19].
« So, when they leave, everything they’ve touched gets sanitised. That’s how we do things. »
Staff testing and isolating
Ros White — the owner of the IGA at Baringa where the woman visited on Tuesday afternoon — said the store had reopened today.
Ms White said staff at the store on the afternoon of the exposure had been told to self-isolate, get a test and await further instruction from Queensland Health before returning to work.
« We’ve got a full, fresh team this morning, » Ms White said.
« We’re open. It’s a completely safe environment, we’ve had a full, deep commercial clean overnight.
Ms White said she learned of the positive COVID-19 case late yesterday.
« We’re very fortunate to have the support of our community and we want to assure them that it’s a safe environment. »
Health of others comes first
Caloundra’s Kebab Haven owner, Firat Dilbaz — whose business is within the Caloundra Shopping Centre where there have been numerous exposure sites — said he was putting the health of his staff and customers first.
Mr Dilbaz said centre management told him the news yesterday afternoon.
« These lockdowns have affected a lot of businesses, especially in hospitality.
« Once we contact Queensland Health, we are notified about what to do or what not to do, so we will be waiting for directions from centre management.
« Health comes first before anything else obviously … health is more important than business. My staff comes first in my business and their health and happiness is first. »
Shows goes on
Meanwhile, the annual Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show will go ahead tomorrow, despite the COVID-positive cases in the region.
The Show Society’s Jenny McKay said its committee have been in contact with Queensland Health and were confident they could still hold a COVID-safe event within guidelines.
« But we are always cognisant — and it’s been a part of our planning for what we don’t know— but we can plan for what we do know and that is about hand sanitizers, the electronic ticketing, the QR codes, social distancing … all those sorts of things, » she said.
Ms McKay said visitors would be asked to follow protocols and maintain hygiene at the event.
She said while it was unlikely the show would be cancelled, Queensland Health would have the final say.
« We will follow whatever direction but, as far as we are concerned at the moment, we would like to welcome the Sunshine Coast people to a wonderful three days at the show, » she said.
The show was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and Ms McKay said that, if it was cancelled this year, it would cost « a lot of money » and be disappointing for volunteers, exhibitors and patrons.