Qantas flight attendant had Covid-19 symptoms but didn't get tested

A flight attendant infected with the Delta strain of Covid flew on six crowded planes across the state and visited restaurants and a theme park despite experiencing symptoms. 

health authorities are racing to trace the woman’s movements and ensure her contacts are in isolation in a desperate effort to avoid a state-wide . 

The woman in her 30s crewed six flights on ‘ regional routes, dined out, went shopping and even visited Dreamworld after she had previously called in sick to work – but did not get a Covid test for more than a week. 

Dreamworld (pictured) has been exposed to Covid-19 after an infected Qantas flight attendant visited the Gold Coast theme park for three hours

The Banyo based flight attendant became ill on July 13 and returned a positive Covid test on July 22.

Health officials are particularly concerned about flights she crewed from Brisbane to Longreach, Gladstone and Hervey Bay on July 11 and 12. 

The woman has been confirmed to have the Delta variant of the virus and the combined flights had 267 passengers aboard. 

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the delay between the woman developing symptoms and getting a test was concerning. 

‘I would have far preferred that she got tested on the 13th of July, of course I would of,’ she said.

Testing has ramped up in regional areas in response to the woman’s case with Dr Young saying she expects there are linked cases that have gone undetected. 

‘It’s not actually making sense to me that we’ve got this and we’ve not had other cases because we know with the Delta variant …

it usually spreads within two days.’ she said.

Testing has ramped up in Queensland with extra testing centres in regional areas in response to the woman’s case (pictured: a testing centre in Highgate Hill on July 1) 

‘I would have expected there would have been spread and then spread and then spread and I’ve not seen that.’ 

Acting Premier Steven Miles agreed saying every passenger on the woman’s flights being tested was ‘absolutely urgent’. 

The six flights were QF 2534 Brisbane-Longreach and QF 2535 Longreach-Brisbane on July 11, then QF 2346 Brisbane-Gladstone on the same day, QF 2331 Gladstone-Brisbane, QF 2374 Brisbane-Hervey Bay 2374 and QF 2375 Hervey Bay-Brisbane, all on July 12. 

Queensland Health said on Friday night that 166 of the passengers had been tested and 250 have been contacted. 

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‘The crew member has not worked since 11-12 July (10+ days ago) and did not develop symptoms until 13 July,’ Qantas said in a statement on Friday.

‘The crew member is currently in self-isolation and we are providing them our full support as they focus on their recovery.

‘Investigations by Queensland Health and Qantas Medical are underway to determine how the crew member contracted the virus.’

The woman also visited Dreamworld for three hours between 10.30am and 2pm on July 16.

The park has been listed as a low-risk exposure site meaning anyone who attended at the same time must watch for symptoms and get tested if they emerge.

The flight attendant called in sick for her shifts but did not get a Covid test until a week later (file image)

The woman flew to Longreach airport (pictured) prompting testing to be ramped up in the remote township 

Koi Dining at Broadbeach was also visited by the woman on on July 14, from 1.50pm to 2.50pm. 

The restaurant is a close contact site, meaning anyone there at the same time must get tested and isolate until negative.

Dreamworld issued a statement saying customer safety was its highest priority.

‘Dreamworld’s number one priority is the health and safety of guests and team members, and the park operates under a Queensland Health approved Covid Safe Plan,’ the statement read.

‘Queensland Health has advised that any guests who visited Dreamworld on Friday the 16th of July from 10.30am to 2pm should monitor their health and, if they develop even the mildest of Covid-19 symptoms, get tested.

‘Dreamworld team members who came into direct contact with the positive guest are being identified, asked to isolate immediately and https://olsenfashionnook.com/ to present a negative test result before returning to work.’  

Her infection has been linked to the Sydney cluster but it’s not known how she caught the virus. 

Deputy Premier Steve Miles confirmed the new case of community transmission at Queensland’s Friday morning Covid update. 

A Qantas flight attendant who worked on a packed flight between Brisbane and regional Queensland has tested positive for coronavirus (stock image)

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said it was believed the woman was infectious since July 11. 

Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher was on one of the flights to Gladstone.

He had been tested and was currently self-isolating awaiting a result.

The woman also stayed overnight at the Mercure Hotel in Gladstone on July 11.     

‘We are working with her to look at where she was and what she did from 13 July when she became unwell,’ said Dr Young.

‘Initially, she’s told us that she essentially stayed at home, so we are just working that through to check that is the case and whether there are any exposure venues.’ 

The flight staff member was aboard Qantas flight QF2534 and QF2535 on Sunday July 11 between the Queensland capital (pictured) and Longreach in the state’s central-west

Longreach already has a testing clinic but a new one is being set up at the Longreach Showgrounds on Friday morning, the ABC reported.

Meanwhile, long queues of traffic have formed at Queensland’s border with NSW after it was shut at 1am on Friday. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the decision on Thursday morning on Twitter, as she is currently in Tokyo sealing Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympic Games. 

Queensland has declared bubble for NSW communities as far south as Grafton and as far west as the SA border to allow residents to cross for essential purposes with quarantining. 

Queensland recorded zero new cases on Thursday, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said in a press conference.

He also confirmed the state has given two million vaccines so far in its jab rollout. 

‘In order to ease the restrictions as outlined we will close the border to the rest of New South Wales,’ Miles said.

‘That will mirror the arrangements currently in place with Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. 

Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said people should expect at least a one-hour delay on Friday morning.

‘The first two or three days is a challenge, it should ease up after that,’ he said.

‘Peak times are also a bit challenging on the roads as well.

If you have to travel during those times add a little bit of extra time.’

The state government had been warning Queensland residents for weeks against all travel to NSW.

While no one has tested positive in NSW in areas close to Queensland border, a service station at Chinderah, about 15km from the frontier, was declared as an exposure site earlier this week.

NSW Health also reported concerns on Thursday night about positive COVID-19 results in sewage testing in Byron Bay, about an hour from the Queensland border.

Queensland’s borders are closed to NSW, Victoria and South Australia.  

Longreach already has a testing clinic but a new one is being set up at the Longreach Showgrounds on Friday morning.

Pictured: Longreach Hospital