School on alert as parent confirmed with coronavirus
A MOTHER of a child who attends a Sunshine Coast hinterland daycare centre has tested positive for coronavirus, with seven people now in precautionary self-quarantine and contact tracing under way.
The River School and Childcare Centre in Maleny has ramped up precautionary procedures and cleaning after a 38-year-old woman, who attended the school three days last week, became Queensland's 15th case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after she tested positive on Sunday.
Queensland Health advise the woman had travelled from London through Dubai, and is now in a stable condition at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
River School principal Anne Donoghoe confirmed the woman had dropped off and picked her child from the childcare centre on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week and at that time, she had not presented with any symptoms.
The Department of Health confirmed contact tracing continued throughout the Maleny and Gympie region, and they would notify the community if any other public health alerts were required.
Ms Donoghoe said the childcare centre could have up to 20 children attend at any time, and the campus was located about 10m from the Prep to Year 6 school on the same land, which had 120 students.
Following the advice of Queensland Health, Ms Donoghoe said both the childcare centre and primary school remained open, but some parents had chosen to keep their children home.
Ms Donoghoe said she contacted early childhood parents on Sunday night to inform them the woman had tested positive, notified school parents on Monday and continued to update them.
As a courtesy, Ms Donoghoe said she informed the Maleny Primary School and Maleny High School.
Ms Donoghoe said she had been in regular and direct contact with Department of Health officials and followed all recommended procedures.
"I asked them about closing the centre, they said they wouldn't recommend it, because it is what they said 'low risk', she had low contact with any other children other than her own, she is the only one identified with it and we are not the source, her source was the overseas trip," Ms Donoghoe said.
The principal said if the situation changed and Queensland Health advised they close the school and childcare centre, she would absolutely follow their advice.
"Without a doubt I would be doing that," she said.
"That's been one of my main concerns to make sure we are doing the right thing and the best thing we can do to make sure everybody's health is not put at risk."
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department's contact-tracing methods were "tried and tested".
"Only those who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case, for a period over 15 minutes or those who have shared an enclosed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (eg more than two hours) are considered as a close contact."
Ms Donoghoe said the school and childcare centre were being "extra vigilant" in their precautionary measures, had upped their already high-standard of cleaning and were sending children home if they presented with a runny nose or symptoms of the common cold.
"I have cancelled any excursions and outings this week," she said.
"There's unfounded fear in the community, it's a small community … it's about self-awareness and hygiene, being familiar with what's the best to do.
"We are making sure children are washing hands, before lunch, when they are back, we have upped our cleaning, rooms were cleaned twice a day beforehand.
"If any parents do any travel overseas … they are to notify us and they may have to go into voluntary isolation for two weeks before going back to school, because (the parent) came from London and (had) not presented with any symptoms.
"Parents have decided to keep children home, it's been suggested that that's their choice, because we are not closing.
"If any children have a runny nose or cough, symptoms of common cold … we are sending children home with those symptoms."
The Queensland Health spokeswoman said they had plans in place to ensure they were well-prepared for all COVID-19 scenarios.
"At this time, Queenslanders should not be alarmed about novel coronavirus, but aware and informed," she said.
"Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and is feeling unwell to see a doctor immediately."
Queensland Health ask people call ahead to their doctor's surgery or hospital to let them know symptoms and travel history to help them prepare for your arrival.
Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH or find up-to-date reliable information on the Queensland Health website at health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.