Friday, April 23, 2021

Queensland moves to replace workforce at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre in bid to manage coronavirus cluster

Queensland moves to replace workforce at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre in bid to manage coronavirus cluster

Queensland’s Director General of Youth Justice says the workforce at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre will be replaced this week in response to the coronavirus outbreak at the facility.

The Department of Youth Justice, Corrective and Police services will deploy staff to take over while the centre’s workers isolate and get tested.

It comes after a prisoner worker tested positive for the virus, triggering an outbreak at the facility which caused restrictions to be reimposed across the state and hundreds of staff and inmates to undergo rigorous testing.

So far, 202 staff and 111 inmates have returned negative results and nine cases have been linked to the facility at Wacol.

Director General of Youth Justice Bob Gee said the replacement workers will be swapped in this week.

“An executive director will come down from Townsville,” he said.

“There will be well over 100 Department of Youth Justice staff to move in. Police service, in fact a superintendent and others will come in as well.

“Department of Corrective services will also help us, as will a range of other agencies.”

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said about half of the 86 former inmates who had left the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre since July 22 had been located and tested.

The rest are expected to be found and tested within the next 24 hours.

‘Largest number of cases in months’

Urgent contact tracing has begun across Greater Brisbane as authorities try to contain the outbreak.

Queensland Health released a list of venues visited by confirmed coronavirus cases which is expected to be updated again today.

Indooroopilly Shopping Centre was added to the list late yesterday after two confirmed cases attended the centre on August 17 and 19.

Queensland recorded two new cases of coronavirus yesterday — a woman in her 30s and a baby boy — who are in the West Moreton region.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said health officials were “really worried” about the outbreak.

“We really hope that we are able to get on top of it as we have with other recent outbreaks but we won’t know really for a couple of weeks,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

The workforce at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre is being replaced this week.(ABC News: Joshua Robertson)

“This is the largest number of community-acquired cases that we’ve had in months in Queensland and so we’re monitoring it very closely.”

Mr Miles said anyone who had been to the areas listed in the current health alerts should not ignore minor symptoms.

“Often the symptoms of this virus, particularly early on, can be really, really mild.”

Mr Miles said he would like to see an increase in testing to include people who were not showing symptoms.

The state’s active total remains at 17 cases.

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