Reconsider need to travel, health authorities urge

By Raquel Mustillo

THE state’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier has urged elderly South Australians and individuals with chronic diseases to reconsider the need to leave their home as the number of active coronavirus cases in SA has increased to 20, with a further 14 suspected.

At a press conference this afternoon, Professor Spurrier said five new cases have been recorded today, four of which are linked to the Parafield cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and noted a further 14 as “suspected cases”.

Professor Spurrier said all of the confirmed positive tests – which range from a teenager to someone in their 50s – either had no symptoms or were mildly symptomatic. 

She said 4000 people had been identified by authorities as close contacts and were in quarantine. 

Professor Spurrier strongly recommended all South Australians wear masks and reconsider the need to travel, labelling the spread as “very worrying”. 

“Every single one of us need to start thinking about do we nee to go out,” she said. 

“It is really disappointing to do that, but we have to stop the contacts people have.
“I am going to start recommending people wear masks in our state.

“We gave advice yesterday if you can’t maintain 1.5m distancing, you should be wearing a mask, that might be on public transport but it might also be in crowded rooms.” 

According to SA Health, more than 5000 people were tested across South Australia, with testing expected to hit 6000 by the end of the day.

However, Professor Spurrier urged testing for individuals who were symptomatic to prevent congestion of the system.

“I am wanting people with symptoms primarily to come forward and get tested,” she said.

“What I don’t want is our public health system, SA Pathology and private labs to get clogged with people who are the worried well. 

“Our priority is anybody that has been asked by public health to get a test done, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.”

The Mount Gambier border crossing and showgrounds testing sites will be open until 8pm tonight. 

Premier Steven Marshall said it was believed the virus was transmitted from a patient in hotel quarantine to a staff member through surface transmission.

“We are very concerned about surface transmission,” he said.

“We have been it in other jurisdictions, but this is probably the first use that we’ve had in South Australia.”

Limestone Coast business Roundwood Solutions announced via Facebook it will temporarily close the business for the next few days as a precautionary measure after being advised an employee had come into contact with someone who may have been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case.