City responds to virus alert
‘No need to panic ... we can control it’
A GENERAL aviation worker who tested positive for Covid-19 has sparked alarm in Townsville after the man spent a week in the city.
The 58-year-old was taken to Townsville University Hospital on Thursday about 1am and has since tested positive for Covid-19.
The man started to experience hayfever-like symptoms, prompting him to get tested.
Townsville and Palm Island residents have been put on stage two restrictions, which include a mask mandate for some situations.
Queensland Health has identified a number of exposure sites, including City Arcade and businesses in Flinders St.
The man travelled to Townsville for work on September 21 after attending an event on September 20 in Brisbane.
It is this event that is believed to be what led to the aviation cluster.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said more work was being done to clarify information on this event.
“We believe that is when it occurred, we think people started being infectious in the community from the 21st,” Dr Young said.
He initially came to Australia from Finland, completing hotel quarantine in Melbourne. The man
then came to Queensland, staying in Brisbane for a few days before heading north.
The man was working at the Townsville Airport in one of the smaller hangars.
He has been helping Queensland Health with contact tracing.
Townsville Local Disaster Management Group chairwoman Jenny Hill said the sooner the city could prove there was no Covid-19 “embedded in this community”, the sooner it could return to normal life.
“You don’t need to panic. We can control this … through testing and vaccination,” Cr Hill said.
The last time Townsville had a brush with Covid-19, the city was thrust into lockdown.
But Cr Hill said this time the positive case was fully vaccinated and almost asymptomatic.
She added it was possible that the city could be put into lockdown.
“It could happen,” Cr Hill said. “Especially if we don’t follow the rules.
“And also if we don’t go out and get tested to show Queensland Health and the CHO (chief health officer) that Covid-19 isn’t embedded in the community.”
Cr Hill acknowledged the exposure sites took some time to appear on the Queensland Health website, but said health authorities were working though the list.
The chairwoman said the last Covid-19 lockdown had been a good test for the city’s response to an outbreak.
“I think it goes to show how we work here as part of disaster management,” Cr Hill said.
“We do take it seriously, we have good connections in the community, particularly the business community, so we are able to call upon people to assist us in times like this.”