Police forced to isolate after virus exposure at hotel

An incident at a Queensland quarantine hotel has led to almost a dozen officers being forced into isolation after potentially being exposed to COVID-19.

Some 11 police officers have been asked to isolate in hotels or at home after a returned traveller tried to flee their hotel, a Queensland Police spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au.

A police source told 7 News the returned traveller, 41, was suffering from psychosis when they tried to leave the Rydges Hotel Southbank. The man was stopped by police given a medical assessment.

Police later took him back to his hotel, and the man later tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

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The officers involved have been told to self isolate. Some are quarantining in their homes and others are in the Rydges Hotel Southbank.

A Queensland Police spokesperson said the officers were wearing personal protective equipment at the time of the incident.

“The 11 officers remain in isolation and as of today, all have returned negative tests,” the spokesperson said.

“The Queensland Police Service is conducting welfare checks on the members each day and has been able to make arrangements to ensure adequate staffing is in place while they are isolating.”

Meanwhile, traces of coronavirus have been detected in wastewater in far north Queensland, despite the state celebrating more than 70 days without transmission.

Viral fragments were found in samples of wastewater collected in Cairns last Tuesday, in sewers servicing quarantine hotels and Cairns Hospital, according to reports.

A spokesperson for Queensland Health told The Cairns Post the discovery could mean there are undetected cases in the area.

“People shouldn’t be alarmed but they shouldn’t be complacent either, if you are sick with symptoms which could be due to COVID-19 go and get tested and then stay home until you get your results,” the spokesman said.

He added the detection of the virus in the wastewater did not necessarily indicate there was a positive case in the community.

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