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Queensland records 42 new COVID-19 cases

Queensland has recorded 42 new COVID-19 cases, more than doubling its daily number in 48 hours.

Chief health officer John Gerrard said of those cases 24 are still under investigation, one was overseas-acquired, seven were linked to interstate travel and eight are contacts of known cases.

Two of them, though, had no known link or travel history.

After 20 total cases on Friday, and 31 just 24 hours ago, Dr Gerrard expected the number to continue to surge after Queensland opened its borders to fully vaccinated interstate travellers on Monday.

He said the new cases were “spread right across the state” with remote northwest town of Mount Isa the latest to be affected.

“It is likely most Queenslanders will be potentially exposed to this virus in the coming weeks,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Forty-two may seem like a relatively small number but this is double the number we saw just 48 hours ago.

“If this rate continues, we will see significant numbers in January as predicted.”

Dr Gerrard revealed no one was in intensive care, with only one of the 42 new cases showing symptoms after 18,312 tests in the last 24 hours.

But he said the “moderately unwell and breathless” woman was unvaccinated.

Dr Gerrard said Omicron was emerging as the dominant strain in Queensland at a much faster rate than expected.

“Information in the last 24 hours suggests the Omicron strain is becoming dominant in Queensland, with 21 out of 25 of the last tested viruses being found to be the Omicron strain,” he said.

“This is happening even more rapidly than we originally predicted. We thought it would take weeks – if this trend continues it will be dominant within days.”

He said the state government was changing the way it dealt with COVID-19 cases.

“Previously we have been admitting all patients with COVID-19 to hospitals in Queensland, mostly for infection-control purposes,” he said.

“We are moving away from that model and we are clearing beds to allow capacity in the coming weeks, should we require it.”

There are now 142 active cases across the state.

One of the new local cases is a Gold Coast police officer.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said “20 to 25” officers were currently isolating after testing positive.

Overall 89.53 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 84.22 per cent are double jabbed.

The state government mandated face masks from Saturday in essential retailers like supermarkets, on public transport including ride-share vehicles, and in hospitals.

Unvaccinated people have also been banned from attending most Queensland venues, including cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, stadiums and theme parks.

Ms Carroll said overall she was pleased with the public’s response but revealed some people had been “quite aggressive and abusive”.

In the last 24 hours, a man and woman at a Wide Bay shopping centre were arrested for refusing to wear a mask, four cautions were issued for not complying with vaccine mandates on the Gold Coast, and a man was charged for assaulting a Sunshine Coast hospital security guard after becoming “extraordinarily agitated” while waiting for a second jab.

Ms Carroll said the force had dealt with 55 call-outs for reports about individuals and 98 for businesses ignoring the vaccine mandate.

There had been 171,287 border pass applications and 1200 international home quarantine applications since the border reopened, she said.

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