Dramatic spike: How QLD cases doubled in four days
QUEENSLAND COVID-19 cases have doubled in just four days.
As the state recorded its second death from the new coronavirus yesterday - Toowoomba man Garry Kirstenfeldt, 68 - the numbers of infections today grew to 493, including 50 new cases.
Mr Kirstenfeldt had been a passenger on the cruise ship Ruby Princess.
He is understood to have had a chronic respiratory condition which put him at increased risk from the pandemic coronavirus strain. He died in Toowoomba Hospital. His wife and other members of his immediate family are in isolation.
Queensland cases are growing rapidly. On Saturday, the state's COVID-19 tally was 221.
Among the new cases are four staff members of the Sails Restaurant at Noosa, who served people at a 50th birthday party on March 14.
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD
Seventeen guests at the private birthday function have also developed the novel coronavirus, including a man who had recently been in the US, where he is believed to have been infected.
Infected staff then served other Sails Restaurant diners on March 18 and March 19 before testing positive.
Sunshine Coast public health physician Roscoe Taylor said the number of people who had developed COVID-19 as a result of the party was expected to grow. Health authorities are using the case as a reason why large gatherings have been banned and restaurants closed.
Queensland Health yesterday issued a public health alert to the estimated 150 people who attended the restaurant between 4pm and 11.15pm on Wednesday, March 18, and from 3pm to 10pm on Thursday, March 19.
"We are advising those patrons to be mindful of the symptoms of coronavirus and to seek medical advice should they develop them," Dr Taylor said.
He said about 60 people attended the restaurant on the Wednesday evening and another 90 the following night.
While the risk to those diners was "not zero", Dr Taylor said "it's probably very low".
"Staff were practising very good hand hygiene to ensure that all the infection control practices that a restaurant can do were in place," he said.
"The menus were paper disposable ones. There were no concerns either about the food handling hygiene."
Dr Taylor said that at the time of the March 14 party, national restrictions on public gatherings were not yet in place and people returning from overseas were not yet expected to go into quarantine for 14 days.
"They were following what they believed to be the advice at the time," Dr Taylor said.
As the number of COVID-19 patients continue to escalate, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said he was confident community transmission remained minimal with most cases confined to people who had returned to Australia from overseas and their close contacts.
"In terms of the cases where we are unable to confirm where they have been contracted, those numbers are incredibly low," Mr Miles said.
Originally published as Dramatic spike: How QLD cases doubled in four days