Contact tracing — coronavirus (COVID-19)


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Victoria’s case update

Following the announcement by Victoria of a case of COVID-19 acquired by a person working in a quarantine hotel, we are monitoring the situation closely and awaiting more information from Victorian health authorities.

If you have been in Greater Melbourne since January 29 and arrived into Queensland should get tested – even if you do not have symptoms – and isolate until you receive a result.

We also ask those people to check the Department of Health and Human Services website regarding the venues of concern. Advice from Victoria is that those people should isolate for 14 days. Please follow that advice if you are in Queensland. If you’ve been to any of these venues, please call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

As a precaution, we will be restricting visitors to vulnerable facilities including aged care, hospitals, disability accommodation and corrective services.

There is no decision at this time to close the border but we are asking Queenslanders to reconsider travel to Victoria.

Active contact tracing alerts

Queensland has no current contact tracing alerts.

Please note that public contact tracing alerts are removed after 14 days or as they are no longer applicable.

If you have concerns or are unsure if you need to get tested or isolate, please call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

To prevent the spread:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested then isolate at home until you get the results and your symptoms resolve
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people—think two big steps
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • Leave a location if it is crowded.

If you have any concerns about your health, or are unsure if you need to get tested or isolate, or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Contact tracing for COVID-19

If a person gets a positive test result for COVID-19, we do what is called ‘contact tracing’. This is to prevent the virus spreading further through the community. It is the same process that we use with other contagious viruses like measles.

As part of this process, we speak to the sick person to find out who might have had close contact with them when they would have been infectious.

If there are people who had close contact with the sick person, our staff get in touch with them directly. If they start showing symptoms, we get them assessed faster and take the right action.

If we can’t find the people who had been in close contact with a person who tested positive, we will issue an alert on our website and through media and social media. This lists the dates, times and places where the sick person was. We ask the public who may have had contact with that sick person at one of those times or places to contact us.

Close contact

A close contact is a person who has:

  • had face-to-face contact for any amount of time or shared a closed space for at least 1 hour with a confirmed case during their infectious period
  • been to a venue or location where the risk of transmission is considered high based on public health assessment.

The local public health unit will tell you if you have been deemed a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. They may direct you to quarantine for 14 days. If you get sick with any COVID-19 symptoms during that period, even mild, get tested immediately.

If you haven’t already been contacted by health authorities and think you should be deemed a close contact of a confirmed case, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Hoax COVID-19 messages

We have received reports of COVID-19 themed hoax text messages (SMS) and emails, for example, notifying people they are a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 positive case. These messages usually include a link or may ask for personal information including banking or superannuation details.

If you receive one of these messages, delete the message and do not click the link or provide personal or financial information. If you are a genuine close contact the Public Health Team will continue to attempt to make contact. To verify if a message received is genuine, call the public health unit closest to you.

If you have already clicked the link, or given personal or financial information to the sender, contact your financial institution immediately for advice. For more information visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Scam watch.

How we classify COVID-19 cases

  • Overseas acquired: the person was infected while in another country
  • Interstate acquired: the person was infected in another Australian state
  • Locally acquired—close contact with confirmed case: the person was infected in Queensland, but the source of the infection has been identified, for example a household or workplace contact.
  • Locally acquired—no known contact (may also be called community transmission): the person was infected in Queensland and the source of the infection hasn’t been found through contact tracing and further testing.

Sustained community transmission is when we have multiple cases of locally acquired COVID-19 where the contact tracing and testing is unable to identify how the person was infected.

This means that the virus has been passed to one or more people, who have then gone on to infect other people. When this happens, the virus can begin spreading very quickly and additional restrictions may be put in place to stop the spread.

We use genomic (DNA) sequencing to compare samples of confirmed cases and link them to other known cases.

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