How Qld’s latest COVID cluster was stopped in its tracks
Health experts feared Queensland's latest cluster of COVID-19 would balloon to hundreds of cases, but then the state's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young went to 82 households to seek their help.
Normally, close contacts of cases are asked to go into quarantine for 14 days to try and ring fence potential new infections.
But fearing she would be unable to get on top of the outbreak quickly, Dr Young went a step further, requesting that 82 households, including families and people living in shared accommodation, containing "contacts of contacts" be placed in quarantine for a fortnight.
The strategy paid off.
One of the "contacts of close contacts" tested positive as part of the cluster, which was recently declared over with 55 cases.
Although that may not be considered significant, one infection is all it takes to grow into an outbreak that may take days, weeks or longer to get on top of.
"I knew the longer the cluster dragged on, the more impact on people, in terms of not being able to visit in nursing homes and increased requirements for gatherings being introduced," she said.
And so Dr Young asked dozens of working class West Moreton families to do their bit to keep Queensland safe.
"We knew in Victoria, they were having problems with people who were confirmed cases were still going to work," she said.
"So to ask families … from that West Moreton area, who were just prepared to do their bit by staying home, I think that's what has made the big difference.
"It was unbelievable. I just cannot imagine how we would have managed except that Queenslanders have done every single step along the way that's been asked of them."
Queensland's pandemic response, steered by Dr Young, has been hailed as among the best in the world.
The state has had just 1164 confirmed infections and six deaths - way short of initial modelling which predicted Queensland could have 10,000 deaths in the first wave of the pandemic.
Despite recent sewage analysis finding particles of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Sandgate, Wynnum and Maroochydore, Queensland recorded another day of no new cases on Monday.
Queensland Health said the wastewater surveillance program, which began in July as a pilot project, was transitioning to be a regular part of the state's COVID-19 response.
The department said more locations will be monitored and more wastewater samples taken to improve coverage and increase the accuracy of the results.
Queensland Health plans to publish all results from the sewage testing on its website once it makes a decision on "the best methods for communicating these results publicly".
NSW Health publishes its sewage results for SARS-CoV-2 weekly.