Qld COVID cases may be flying under the radar


There could be several missing COVID-19 cases that led to the latest cluster, because Queenslanders with symptoms aren't getting tested, experts say.

More than 8000 Queenslanders were tested on Monday and 6834 the day prior, amid growing fears people with symptoms were not getting tested for the deadly coronavirus.

University of Queensland virologist Associate Professor Ian Mackay said not enough Queenslanders were being tested, considering about 20,000 people could be tested in a day.

"It's hard to believe at any given point that only 6000 people are sick, we expect there to be more illnesses such as those with respiratory symptoms," he said.

"If we don't have those higher numbers, we may be missing those people in the community who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2."



Dr Mackay said given the last known case from the Logan cluster was reported on August 1, and the first case of the Youth Detention Centre was reported on August 10, there could have been several generations of the virus that have been missed because people with symptoms didn't get tested.

"I don't want to admonish people for that, people make their own decisions on whether they think they've got a cold or whether it's just allergies because of the time of the year … But the only way to know is to get tested," he said.

Dr Mackay said a timeline he created based on public data showed when new cases were reported and gave an indication of how they related.

"There's not a lot of time between the two clusters; it does become simpler to imagine that the clusters could be linked," he said.


Associate Professor Ian Mackay
Associate Professor Ian Mackay


Griffith University infectious diseases and immunology program director Professor Nigel McMillan said one potential reason for under-testing could be queues for fever clinics.
"QHealth are addressing issues of long waiting times, but they need to make this not a barrier to testing people," he said.

It came as Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said yesterday it was still too early to be recording community cases after the outbreak at the weekend, so it was "really important" anyone with any symptoms got tested.

"We'll need to continue those testing levels for the next week to make sure there isn't a case that we've missed," she said.

Dr Young said while genomic testing was not yet complete, she thought that a missing case could link the Logan cluster in late July and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster.



Originally published as COVID cases may be flying under the radar

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