Fears of oronavirus outbreak in South Australia as 90 people in quarantine, prison worker infected


South Australia is on high alert for a coronavirus outbreak as a prison worker became the fourth person found infected outside of hotel quarantine on Sunday. 

The outbreak has spread through a large family that has members working in high-risk quarantine hotels, aged care and health care as well as the prison.

Hundreds of people in Adelaide’s northern suburbs have potentially been exposed to the virus in the cluster that marks the first community transmission in South Australia since April 15. 

A worker at Yatala Labour Prison (pictured) in Adelaide’s north tested positive on Sunday

Mawson Lakes Primary School and Preschool in Adelaide's north (pictured) is closed for cleaning on Monday after a student was found to be a close contact of an infected person

Mawson Lakes Primary School and Preschool in Adelaide’s north (pictured) is closed for cleaning on Monday after a student was found to be a close contact of an infected person

People wait in their cars at a coronavirus testing clinic in Victoria Park, Adelaide in September. South Australia is worried the new cluster will spread as more people are showing symptoms

People wait in their cars at a coronavirus testing clinic in Victoria Park, Adelaide in September. South Australia is worried the new cluster will spread as more people are showing symptoms

A South Australian Correctional Services employee from Yatala Labour Prison in Adelaide’s northern suburbs has tested positive, SA Correctional Services chief executive David Brown told ABC News on Sunday.

A rapid-response team is helping with contact-tracing efforts at the prison.

Less than an hour later the Mawson Lakes Primary School and Preschool, also in Adelaide’s north, announced it would close on Monday for a deep clean after a student was found to be a close contact of an infected person. 

The Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide's north where the woman in her 80s was diagnosed

The Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide’s north where the woman in her 80s was diagnosed

WA has again tightened its borders to South Australia after an emergency meeting on Sunday. Pictured: SA passenger arriving at Perth Airport on Saturday. Restrictions eased for one day

WA has again tightened its borders to South Australia after an emergency meeting on Sunday. Pictured: SA passenger arriving at Perth Airport on Saturday. Restrictions eased for one day

Testing in South Australia's Barossa Valley in March.

Testing in South Australia’s Barossa Valley in March.

Earlier on Sunday, SA Health reported that a quarantine hotel worker had infected two family members.

Health authorities are urgently contact-tracing from the woman in her 80s who was diagnosed at Lyell McEwin Hospital, in Adelaide’s north, on Saturday.

The woman, aged in her 80s, was wearing a mask at the hospital, but about 90 people who were in the emergency department at the same time on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday morning were forced to quarantine as close contacts. 

These new cases are the first locally-acquired infections in SA since April and sparked fears of a Melbourne-like explosion from a hotel quarantine breach.

A couple related to the elderly woman also tested positive on Sunday – a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s. 

‘One of those people works in our medi-hotels,’ South Australia’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier told reporters on Sunday.

‘This is where we consider the source to be.’ 

The medi-hotel was later named as Peppers. 

From Sunday, all staff and guests at quarantine hotels will need to get tested for coronavirus every week, Professor Spurrier said. 

One of the infected couple was a child of the elderly woman, who is in hospital in a stable condition.

Professor Spurrier called the new cases ‘very troubling’.

The infected patients have a ‘very large family’, she told reporters on Sunday, and four close contacts have showed symptoms and are now awaiting Covid-19 test results.

South Australia fears a coronavirus outbreak a day after the border to WA opened up. Pictured: people getting coronavirus tests at Victoria Park, Adelaide on September 6

South Australia fears a coronavirus outbreak a day after the border to WA opened up. Pictured: people getting coronavirus tests at Victoria Park, Adelaide on September 6

Pictured: coronavirus testing in Adelaide in July. South Australian authorities are worried as the trio diagnosed on Sunday have a large family of whom four people are showing symptoms

Pictured: coronavirus testing in Adelaide in July. South Australian authorities are worried as the trio diagnosed on Sunday have a large family of whom four people are showing symptoms

Professor Spurrier also said the elderly woman had visited the Parafield Plaza Asian supermarket between 10:30am and 11:30am on Thursday while she was infectious. 

She said it was too early to say whether ­people at the Adelaide Oval Christmas Pageant on Saturday had been exposed. 

She urged any South Australians with symptoms to get tested immediately.

An overseas traveller was also diagnosed with coronavirus on Sunday bringing the total to four new cases.

Professor Nicola Spurrier, South Australia's Chief Public Health Officer, pictured in May

Professor Nicola Spurrier, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer, pictured in May

The man, aged in his 30s, is in hotel quarantine.

The infections were diagnosed the day after Western Australia opened its border to South Australia for the first time in months.

Motorists queued at the South Australian border as Western Australia relaxed it’s hard border closure on Saturday.

Under Western Australia’s newly relaxed rules, only travellers from Victoria and NSW will have to self-isolate and have a coronavirus test on day 11.

Due to the ballooning South Australian cluster, Western Australia’s police commissioner, premier and chief health officer held an emergency meeting on Sunday. 

The relaxed border has now been revoked as officials made the snap decision to test anyone arriving at Perth Airport or by road from South Australia, and direct them to self-isolate for 14 days, ABC News reported. 

West Australian health officials will also now contact anyone who arrived from South Australia yesterday when the borders relaxed, and tell them to get tested for coronavirus and isolate themselves until they get the results.

South Australia had previously recorded nine locally acquired coronavirus cases, which last appeared on April 15. 

The new South Australian cases have also sparked fears a planned border reopening with Victoria may not go ahead on December 1.

Victorians travelling to South Australia would no longer need to quarantine for 14 days after that date.

South Australia’s coronavirus total reached 526 cases on Sunday of which 19 are now active infections. 

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