Dr Jeannette Young says the state has weathered 13 incursions of the virus from interstate and hotel quarantine in the last six weeks. It's "a wonder", she says, there are only 42 active COVID-19 cases in Queensland amid climbing cases numbers in NSW and recent outbreaks in Victoria and South Australia.
The chief health officer is urging people to wear face masks with an outbreak of the Delta strain in the state a near certainty. "Queensland, COVID-19 is coming," Dr Young wrote in a News Corp editorial.
"It's unfortunate but almost inevitable that we will see a rise in COVID-19 cases here in coming months. That's why I am pleading with Queenslanders to wear masks when they are in public.''
"It's more than a public health direction – it's also one of our most effective weapons against this virus, especially the insidious Delta variant."
Dr Young's warning comes as a large Brisbane school was reportedly shut down due to a person connected to it testing positive. Multiple media outlets reported that Indooroopilly State High School's acting executive principal Derek Weeks told parents the school would be closed for 48 hours for deep cleaning.
"I will continue to liaise with the department and we will continue to take the advice from Queensland Health," he reportedly wrote in a letter.
"It is important we continue to follow COVID-safe measures including good hygiene, physical distancing and staying at home if unwell. We also must adhere to any Chief Health Officer directions such as wearing face masks. If you, or a member of your family, are feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, please consult your GP."
Meanwhile, authorities are on alert after a man with COVID-19 flew between Brisbane and Perth last week. Dr Young said the man initially arrived in Brisbane on a flight from the Philippines via Papua New Guinea on July 3 and entered hotel quarantine. After 14 days and three negative tests, he flew to Perth on July 17 or 18, where he was denied entry and put into hotel quarantine. The man was then put on Qantas flight 932, which arrived in Brisbane at 12.55pm on July 20.
He became unwell while staying a backpackers hostel in Brisbane and tested positive for the Alpha variant on Monday.
Dr Young said contact tracers were tracking down other passengers on the flight and hostel guests. Authorities have tested 62 guests at the Brisbane City Backpackers HQ and the neighbouring Joe's Place Backpackers. Dr Young said 59 tests were negative while results were pending on three others.
However, one man was taken away from one of the hostels in an ambulance on Thursday afternoon.
Authorities have also transferred 10 COVID-19 patients from a ship docked at Weipa, in the state's far north, to Brisbane hospitals for treatment. Eleven crew members remain on board MV Sanyu; nine are positive cases and two tested negative.
AAP - Marty Silk