Health boss fears virus might still be active in Cairns

 

COVID-19 could still be lurking around Cairns with health officials revealing dozens of people with minor symptoms were not getting tested.

There are currently no active cases in Cairns and the city has not recorded a positive result since the bizarre confirmation of a Ruby Princess cruise ship passenger who tested positive last week, more than a month after disembarking the ship.

Figures released by Queensland Health showed there had been a total of 1878 tests conducted in the city between May 14-28 - a rate of about 134 per day.

A nurse tests a patient at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service's drive-through fever clinic at the Cairns North community health centre
A nurse tests a patient at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service's drive-through fever clinic at the Cairns North community health centre

But Cairns Tropical Public Health Services director Dr Richard Gair said there was still a chance the virus could be present, but undetected in the community.

"We know there are some groups that are unrepresented in our testing statistics," he said.

"People with only mild symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throat are not coming forward and getting tested.

"The increase in testing will provide a clearer picture of the situation in Queensland and will inform any future changes to the Chief Health Officer's directions."

Dr Gair said the easing of virus restrictions around the state should not be taken as a sign testing was no longer necessary.

"Diagnosing COVID-19 early, even when symptoms are mild, helps us to slow the spread of the virus."

He said anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, was encouraged to come forward and get tested.

Queensland Health was asked to provide the number of people tested per day in Cairns for May but would not release the specific figures.

Originally published as Health boss fears virus might still be active in Cairns


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