• Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

SA Health officials are still none the wiser over the cause of Adelaide’s suspected medi-hotel coronavirus leak


May 17, 2021

SA Health officials are still none the wiser over the cause of Adelaide’s suspected medi-hotel coronavirus leak, but have suggested transmission could have occurred when guests opened their doors to collect food.

Key points:

  • A Victorian man is believed to have caught coronavirus from a neighbouring guest at the Playford Hotel
  • Authorities have trawled through hours of CCTV footage
  • The investigation has revealed no identifiable breaches, but SA Health is investigating the possibility of airborne transmission

It is believed a Victorian man contracted COVID-19 from a neighbouring guest at the Playford Hotel, before travelling home to Melbourne and sparking a virus alert there.

The two men had been on the same flight, but transmission is not believed to have occurred on the plane.

SA Health has spent hours reviewing CCTV footage, and the only possible link appears to be the travellers opening their doors or collecting food.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Emily Kirkpatrick said a draft report was being prepared, and investigators were examining whether “aerosol transmission could have played a role in this particular case”.

“When we’ve gone back and stepped through this CCTV over the last six days, we’ve been able to piece together exactly what’s occurred on that particular floor, and there has been no clear indication in terms of breaches,” she said.

“Of course, there’s always that background hypothesis that this could be a very long incubation time.

“It just goes to highlight how this is a very difficult virus to trace and we need to make sure we have the highest level of protection across all of our sites.”

Dr Kirkpatrick said investigators were considering the possibility of airborne transmission.

Several travellers on the same floor have been ordered to complete two more weeks in quarantine, even though it remains a possibility that the Victorian man contracted the virus before landing in Adelaide.

No new coronavirus cases were recorded in South Australia today, with 14 cases still active.

Dr Kirkpatrick said 13 of those were acquired overseas, but investigations are continuing into how one returned traveller whose case was revealed on Saturday acquired the virus.

“We do have one case, a male in his teens, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on his day nine swab in our medi-hotel. This individual was transferred to Tom’s Court,” she said.

The teenager was travelling in a large family group and was sitting in close proximity to other cases on the same flight.

SA Health is “undertaking repeat swabs, blood tests and also looking at the genomics of this individual”, Dr Kirkpatrick said.

It comes as the state’s vaccination program received a boost, with a second mass vaccination clinic opening in Mount Gambier, in addition to one already operating at the Wayville showgrounds.

A vaccination hub at the Adelaide Showground in Wayville opened in April.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said vaccination hubs would open in Noarlunga from next Tuesday and in Elizabeth on May 31.

He said hospital-based clinics would begin to scale back, as community-based clinics ramp up.

“Considering the numbers that we need to get through it’s much more effective to have dedicated sites,” he said.

“[The sites] will be dual-stream clinics just as the Adelaide Showground is dual-stream — it’ll offer both AstraZeneca and Pfizer.”

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