COVID ‘party host’ breaks silence

The man falsely accused of hosting an illegal party while awaiting his test results has broken his silence, explaining how authorities got it so wrong.

A Brisbane man with COVID-19 falsely accused of hosting a party while awaiting his test results has broken his silence, saying Queensland Health “mixed up” contact tracing information.

Lachlan Simpson, 25, tested positive to the virus on Friday night after his friend, a 26-year-old Stafford man, returned a positive result on Thursday.

Queensland Health released a statement on Saturday night, saying Mr Simpson had hosted a party for 25 people while awaiting his test results.

But Health Minister Yvette D’Ath backtracked on that claim on Sunday, saying only five people were in the home.

Queensland Police on Sunday night confirmed that no one apart from Mr Simpson and his four housemates had been in the house while they awaited their test results.

Mr Simpson told Nine News he had hosted a gathering of 25 people “two weeks prior” to getting tested.

“My heart’s been racing for the last 24 hours … I didn’t have a party with 25 people,” he said from his isolated room at the Royal Brisbane Hospital on Sunday.

“Somehow they’ve taken that day and moved it forward to Friday.

“We went on a pub crawl the next day (after the gathering two weeks ago) but I think at that point I had no symptoms at all.”

Ms D’Ath did not apologise to Mr Simpson on Sunday when asked if she would like to and has failed to explain how the incorrect information was released.

“That is the information that I was briefed on at the time,” she said.

“I understand that the health officials who originally spoke to this gentleman … they say that’s what they understood he had told them.

“Whether it was a misunderstanding at the time, or what it was, I can’t tell you.

“I wasn’t there. I didn’t hear the conversation.”

Queensland Police confirmed on Sunday night that their independent investigation had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“Police investigators have not found any evidence to warrant action being taken against a man following reports of a house party involving people in quarantine at Strathpine,” a statement read.

“Inquiries into this matter are now finalised.”

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told Today on Monday that police had acted quickly to try to stop “the virus spreading.”

“In policing, people tell us lots of things and we have to run it out and work out what the truth is, and it takes time sometimes … but in a pandemic you have to act quickly,” he said.

“What we are worried about, and what we have seen previously, is there is a strong reaction against people who are seen to have spread COVID … We wanted to jump on that and stop that happening.”

Queensland Health has also updated their contact tracing information based on Mr Simpson’s movements while he was unknowingly infectious.

Anyone who attended the following venues needs to quarantine for 14 days since the day of attendance:

  • March 20: Black Hops Brewery, East Brisbane: 12pm-2pm
  • March 20: Green Beacon Brewing Co, Teneriffe: 2pm-3.12pm
  • March 20: Eatons Hill Hotel, Eatons Hill: 3.44pm-5.30pm
  • March 22: PCYC Pine Rivers, Bray Park: 7.16am-8.10am

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