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Disclosing superspreader Wanniassa Halloween party not in public interest: ACT Health Minister | The Canberra Times


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Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said it was not in the public interest to tell Canberrans about a party which has caused at least 33 COVID-19 infections and widespread disruption to ACT schools. Ms Stephen-Smith said the government was aware for some time of the event, where police were called late on Saturday, October 30, to a large gathering at Wanniassa. “We don’t generally talk about those transmission events when they occur at private events, and they’re not a public notification,” she said. “But those things are investigated as where appropriate by ACT Policing. But, more importantly, ACT Health works directly with people engaged in those locations in those events to ensure that contact tracing can be undertaken in relation to those but given that it’s not a public site, it’s not a public exposure risk.” The Health Minister said the 33 cases associated with the cluster included secondary and tertiary transmission to people who were not present at the event. When asked if ACT Health could be sure that all individuals at the party had been contacted, Ms Stephen-Smith said she thought most attendees would be aware if others had contracted COVID-19. “I think the people who were at that event will know that other people at that event have been identified as COVID cases and they will know whether they’ve been there or not. If they want to contact ACT Health that would be great. “And ACT Health makes every effort as it does always with their contact tracing and case investigation to identify as many people as they can through contact tracing.” READ MORE: Ms Stephen-Smith suggested there was more than one event on the same night and that some people had confused anther private event with the party that had sparked the chain of transmission. “It appears from what I’m hearing that there has been some confusion in the community and there have been some allegations that it was one event when it was actually a different event that we’re talking about here. So I would really encourage people not to speculate about this event, not to make assumptions.” She said transmission had occurred at a number of private events over the past few weeks. Since schools returned to face-to-face learning, there has been 17 exposure locations in Canberra schools but only two school sites had experienced transmission of the virus. A cluster of cases associated with the Wanniassa School junior campus had reached 50 on Tuesday, including secondary and tertiary infections, while there were less than five cases linked to Erindale College. Alfred Deakin High School was added to the list on Thursday, while Mawson Primary School was reported on Wednesday. The ACT recorded nine COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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