An Adelaide high school has closed down after a female student tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 26. South Australian authorities suspect that her infection is linked to Parafield cluster which has prompted an intensive yet short-lived statewide lockdown.
The Woodville high school is currently undergoing deep cleaning and contact tracing while remaining closed “until further notice”. One thousand students have gone into isolation, the ABC reported.
Department of Education confirmed the case at 7:30 pm Wednesday, saying the girl has attended “while potentially infectious”.
Anyone who attended the site on Nov. 23 was urged to immediately “isolate with all members of their household” as a “thorough clean” of the school’s relevant areas is undertaking.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer for South Australia (SA) Mike Cusack believed the case was part of the Parafield cluster, which was sparked after a cleaner and two security staffs from the Peppers quarantine medi-hotel contracted the virus from a returned traveller.
Woodville Pizza Bar, where one of the security guards had worked while infectious, is the suspected link between the cluster and the teenage girl’s case, the ABC reported on Nov. 26.
“We do believe the case is linked to the Parafield cluster and does not represent unknown transmission into the community,” Cusack told ABC radio on Thursday.
Contract tracers had been working overnight to determine the source of the infection, he said.
“The link that we’re looking at, at this stage, is the pizza bar,” he added.
SA Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier also believed that the student contracted the virus at Woodville Pizza Bar, after picking up a pizza on Nov. 14.
Spurrier said the young girl “has done absolutely nothing wrong”, encouraging as many people in Woodville area to get tested as possible.
“It is very important for anybody now in that Woodville area, particularly if you have frequented that pizza bar, go back to our web site and look at the dates where we know there were people infectious and absolutely think do I need to get tested?”, she told The Guardian.
The student’s case would take the Parafield cluster to 30 cases.
In light of the latest cluster, the SA government resolved to make sweeping reform to the hotel quarantine system where anyone testing positive, including overseas arrivals, will be moved to a dedicated health facility.
Premier Steven Marshall said police would provide all security at the school, and staff will not be allowed to work at other high-risk locations, including prisons and aged care centres.
He will also ask national cabinet to consider testing all Australian returning from overseas before they are allowed to board their flights, in addition to a negative test required before any travel permission is given.
“We continue to act swiftly and decisively based on the expert health advice,” the premier said. “What we must do is put as many shields here between the virus and South Australia.”