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Qld has 49 local circumstances, masks recommended

Another 49 locally acquired COVID-19 cases have emerged in Queensland with face masks and booster shots recommended amid concerns about a potential Omicron superspreader event.

The new cases emerged after 13,595 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Monday, however only one unvaccinated case has been seriously ill and is recovering.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the jump was expected with 197,546 border passes issued for people from interstate COVID-19 hotspots in the past week.

She’s recommending people indoors wear face masks, which are mandatory in essential retailers and hospitals, and get their vaccine booster shots.

“We strongly recommend that you wear your mask in an indoor setting, so we’re not mandating it but I will be wearing my mask when I go in and out of cafes or restaurants, and when you’re sitting there you can take your mask off,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters before getting her vaccine booster on Monday.

“This is just an added precaution until we get to that 90 per cent fully vaccinated (rate), but also too we need Queenslanders to get their boosters, it’s really important.

“If your boosters are due, please go and get your booster.”

Of the 49 new local cases, 16 were linked to a known case, nine were interstate-acquired and 24 were under investigation.

Another 10 cases were recorded in quarantine with at least one of those overseas-acquired.

Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says 13 cases are Omicron and eight are Delta with the variant of the other 38 unknown.

Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville have new cases with Dr Gerrard concerned about a potential Omicron superspreader event in Brisbane last Monday.

More than 2670 people attended the Griffith University graduation ceremony for nurses and paramedics at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on that day.

Dr Gerrard said there were already 15 cases linked to the event, including some Omicron cases, and more were expected.

“It’s likely that the whole episode will be an Omicron cluster,” the chief health officer said.

There are 66 people in hospital and 32 being treated at home, but only one COVID-19 patient has been moderately ill during the last week. She was unvaccinated and is recovering.

Dr Gerrard said it was likely the hospital and ICU numbers would pick up over coming weeks, due to the lag time on virus symptoms developing.

“So it will be very instructive to learn in the next one to two weeks what pattern we see in the hospitals,” he said.

Dr Gerrard also defended saying it was “necessary” for the virus to spread throughout the state on Saturday.

He explained that spread would give everyone some level of immunity, helping make COVID-19 endemic like previous pandemic diseases.

“It’s necessary because this virus ultimately needs to become endemic in the community before we can move on,” the chief health officer said.

“Eventually all of us will develop some degree of immunity to this virus, and probably the virus will become less virulent.

“That’s the nature of how new viruses are introduced into the community. That’s what’s happened previously, with influenza pandemics.”

The latest figures show 84.7 per cent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated and 89.8 per cent have had at least one jab.

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