Still no COVID-positive hotel in SA

By | December 14, 2020

More than a week after reopening borders to returning travellers, South Australia still has not decided on where it will establish its hotel for those who test positive to coronavirus.

The state recorded its first case in 15 days on Monday and the patient has been moved to a dedicated COVID-19 positive area at the Pullman Adelaide Hotel.

Two floors have been reserved for those who test positive and elsewhere in the hotel are other returned travellers who have not tested positive.

Premier Steven Marshall revealed the new infection — a man in his 40s who recently returned from overseas — was moved to the dedicated area, which is being guarded by SA Police and protective services officers.

He said he was not sure when the permanent dedicated facility would be established but was “really keen” to find out what it was going to be.

“It is an important decision for us in SA. We expect the numbers to be very low,” Mr Marshall said.

“We’ve had the advice from SA Health that having the two dedicated floors within the Pullman provides us with a very safe situation but we need to move to a dedicated, more permanent arrangement and we’ll do that on the advice of SA Health.”

Mr Marshall assured South Australians that authorities would not take any chances with further outbreaks.

“We’ve had people who have been infected in our quarantine system before. There are many other states in the same situation.

“What we’ve implemented, though, is a new program which is going to be belt and braces – a program which is going to isolate anybody that contracts this disease.”

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Mr Marshall announced an eight point recovery plan to strengthen the state’s quarantine hotel system, which included having all COVID-19 positive cases transferred from medi-hotels to a dedicated health facility.

This is yet to be implemented.

The old Wakefield Hospital was explored as an option but was later found to be insufficient because of the airflow and ventilation.

As the state dealt with the Parafield cluster, international flights into Adelaide Airport were cancelled from November 16.

As flights recommended last week, it was announced that two dedicated floors of the Pullman Hotel would become the temporary area to further isolate positive cases.

Monday’s case had been in a medi-hotel since he arrived and returned a positive result on his day one test, according to SA Health.

It is the only active case in the state and brings the state’s total number of infections to 563.

“None of us want to see another outbreak in South Australia,” Opposition health and wellbeing spokesman Chris Picton said.

“It is vital we know how COVID-19 escaped from the Peppers medi-hotel, so we can have confidence there won’t be a repeat and systems can be improved here and around the country.

“Steven Marshall should ensure that his own eight-point-plan is implemented swiftly to keep SA safe.

“This was promised to be implemented prior to international arrivals beginning, yet that did not occur.”

Also on Monday, coronavirus restrictions eased across the state.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens last week said SA was heading towards “COVID normal” by allowing more people at home gatherings, weddings, funerals and private functions.

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Mr Marshall said South Australians deserved the eased restrictions.

“By and large the people of SA have been very keen to observe all the restrictions put in place because they know by doing the right thing, they’ll end up with a better outcome and less restrictions than we’ve had in the past.”

As part of the changes, retailers need to display a QR code that customers use to check in upon arrival.

“We’re asking people to work with the retail sector and listen to the directions implemented by SA Health or SA Police,” Mr Marshall said.

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