COVID-19 Mackay cases reach 11 in biggest spike yet
THE number of confirmed COVID-19 patients within the Mackay district has jumped to 11, as four more cases are added to the Whitsunday tally.
Mackay Hospital and Health Services confirmed the new patients, from the Whitsunday region, had all either recently returned home from overseas or were close contacts.
All had been in home quarantine when they fell ill and tested positive.
There is no indication of community transmission across the Mackay district.
This comes as six new paramedics bolster Mackay's frontline healthcare service in the fight against the global pandemic.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said Queensland Ambulance Service officers were fast-tracked to communities across the state to help with the virus crisis response.
"Unfortunately, we know the number of cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks," Mrs Gilbert said.
The six extra paramedics in Mackay would help cater to an increase in demand for health care in the region.
The Whitsunday spike was among 57 new confirmed cases across Queensland, bringing the state total to 835.
Toowoomba man Des Williams, 85, who had underlying medical conditions, yesterday died from coronavirus - the fourth in Queensland to do so.
Mr Williams contracted the disease after recently returning from a cruise.
Dawson MP George Christensen said the double digits might "make it look a bit more alarming".
"But all these people were people that had just returned … to Australia," Mr Christensen said. "And they, upon returning to Australia, immediately self isolated.
"It is really good news that we haven't had any community transmissions and hopefully it will stay that way."
Mr Christensen said under the new strict measures requiring returning travellers to quarantine in the capital city they fly into, he expected case numbers like this would start to drop.
"And if we're all doing the right thing all cases will stop," he said.
On Wednesday the number of confirmed cases was at seven, with three patients from the Whitsundays.
The four new cases bring the Whitsundays' tally to seven.
All four patients, and their close contacts, had followed the right protocol since.
But Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said the sharp rise in new cases was "disturbing but hardly surprising".
"After all that has been said in the local community over the past couple of weeks, I'm not 100 per cent convinced that there has been no community transmission," Mr Costigan said.
"We now have four more reasons to lock down the Mackay-Whitsunday region as part of NQ First's region-by-region approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19."
The MHHS has advised contact tracing has either been completed or is under way in relation to each case in the district.
It was reported on Wednesday that the most recent two cases were from the Whitsunday region, but are unrelated.
Last week a patient was being cared for under quarantine at Proserpine Hospital and was the first case for the Whitsundays.
Yesterday it was confirmed that region had three.
The service urged people to take precautions help slow the spread of coronavirus, and to maintain social distancing.