How a Qld festival could have been a ‘superspreader’ without people knowing it

Queensland’s vaccination mandate took effect on the second day of the festival, but the spokesman rejected claims that it was not enforced.

“We engaged a security company to check all participants for vaccination status from the time the mandates came into force. Many people were either denied access or sent back to a place where they could access Wi-Fi to download their certificates,” before they were allowed to enter. “

An aerial photo of Landcruiser Mountain Park during the Elements Festival.

An aerial photo of Landcruiser Mountain Park during the Elements Festival.Credit:Instagram – @elements_festival_

A spokesman for the Queensland Police Service said officers attended the festival after the vaccine mandate went into effect on December 17 to carry out compliance checks.

“The police attended the event on 17 and 18 December to ensure compliance with the relevant CHO instructions. No enforcement measures were initiated, the spokesman said.

“Queensland Health later identified the incident as a random contact point. A total of 17 police officers were identified as having attended the incident or were involved in enforcement activities near the incident. Officers were advised to conduct a COVID test and isolate until negative. results were obtained. All officers have since returned to service without any problems. “

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Random contacts must be isolated until they receive a negative test result, whereas close contacts must be isolated for seven days – regardless of their test results.

The total number on site was 5,000 including staff, artists, vendors and attendees.

When Brisbane Times Asked if police were aware that the festival had been upgraded to a close contact point and if the officers involved had isolated themselves for seven days, a spokesman would only say that all operational requirements had been met.

The festival’s spokesman said organizers had since been told a contestant was fined for crossing the border from NSW after receiving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

The festival’s spokesman also said they had not been contacted by Queensland Health or contact trackers since the event, and even decided to warn patrons about the outbreak.

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“We posted several posts on our social media channels and instructed the ticket provider to send an email to all ticket holders when it was listed as a casual site, and again when it was upgraded to a close contact site.”

In September, following the outbreak at St Thomas More College in southern Brisbane, Queensland Health issued a new directive requiring people to identify themselves as close contacts by checking the list of exposure sites instead of waiting for formal announcement.

Shortly before the festival, more than 2,600 people attended a graduation ceremony at Griffith University for nursing and midwifery students, which was later declared an Omicron cluster.

The university provided contact information to Queensland Health attendees, and Chief Health Officer John Gerrard told a news conference that the event – listed as a random contact point only – had already been linked to 15 confirmed cases.

Brisbane Times asked Queensland Health how many cases had been linked to the Elements Festival, and for further information on compliance and contact tracing procedures. The department replied: “Unfortunately, everyone is incredibly busy at the moment and we are not able to get the necessary data.”

From 31 December, the definition of close contact in Queensland would change again.

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