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Sunnybank school sent home, new exposure sites listed after mystery COVID case

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Students at a south-east Queensland school have been sent home after one tested positive for COVID-19 early on Friday morning and new exposure sites have been listed, as authorities also race to control a so-far separate scare stemming from an infected NSW truck driver.
Authorities have also announced a return of the existing border bubble with the NSW local government areas coming out of lockdown tomorrow, for students and essential workers who have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new case detected, a 13-year-old girl who attends St Thomas More College in Sunnybank, was still under investigation, but students would be sent home as a precaution as more details are gathered and shared by Queensland Health throughout the day.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the girl had attended classes this week and, as a result, the school was advising parents to immediately collect their children and go into quarantine as an entire household for 14 days.
“Unless we get other information that would change that advice,” Dr Young said.
Genomic sequencing results are expected back late Friday or early Saturday and would inform the next steps. But new close contact exposure sites have already been listed, including the Pinelands Plaza Coles and Pinelands Bakehouse on Monday afternoon.
St Thomas More College at Sunnybank, where a student tested positive for COVID-19.Credit:Google Street View
The student attended school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, now also declared a close contact site. The pedestrian overpass at Banoon Station is considered low-risk for two brief periods on Tuesday.
Ms Palaszczuk said she took “comfort” from the fact all students have been required to wear masks, a measure that had not been in place at the start of the recent Indooroopilly schools cluster.
After authorities issued an alert late Thursday for a truck driver who had spent two days in the while infectious on Sunday and Monday after travelling through NSW – the fourth in two weeks – Dr Young urged people to come forward for testing, continue using the Check In Qld app and get vaccinated.
She said delays in testing results out of NSW due to the high case numbers meant the man in his 20s, who has received his first dose of a vaccine, was tested on September 5 but only received the result on Thursday.
A number of close and casual contact sites have been identified, including a BP service station in Archerfield and stores within the popular Westfield Garden City shopping centre, in Brisbane’s south.
NSW authorities were attempting to reach the man to determine why he had visited the centre when guidelines say interstate freight drivers should limit exposure to the community, Dr Young said.
The Queensland Ambulance Service has started a mass testing clinic at the Eight Mile Plains Community Health Centre in response for anyone with symptoms or identified as a contact to get tested.
The new scare comes as most border-hugging NSW local government areas prepare to emerge from lockdown on Saturday, with Ms Palaszczuk bringing good news for cross border communities without COVID-19 cases.
Ms Palaszczuk said students and people unable to work or volunteer from home would again be able to cross the border from the 12 NSW local government areas from 1am on Monday.
“So it’s basically going back to that border bubble that we had previously,” she said from a new vaccination hub at Mount Warren Park set to open on Saturday.
But authorities on both sides of the border would monitor the situation closely, as NSW had flagged a return to lockdown for those local government areas should they record a COVID-19 case.
Dr Young said anyone travelling would need to have not had visitors from locked-down areas in the past 14 days, or had left their own local government area.
The essential-worker definition would be broadened to those who could not “reasonably work from home”, as had been the case previously, but the vaccination requirement brought in last month would also apply to them.
NSW Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish told ABC Radio Brisbane on Friday morning that he would like to see children able to return to school on Monday among a broader easing of the strictest criteria for travel to date.
One new overseas acquired case, detected on a marine vessel, was also reported in Queensland on from almost 12,000 tests in the 24 hours to Friday morning.
Queensland Health delivered 23,807 vaccine doses on Thursday. There are now 21 active cases in the state.
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