Labor leader Rebecca White is urging a full lockdown across Tasmania, as concern grows that a recent coronavirus case could be the state's first instance of community transmission.
An investigation into how a health care worker at the Mersey Community Hospital was infected with COVID-19 is seeking to identify whether there was an exposure source in either the hospital or the community.
It was confirmed on Friday night that the emergency department worker had been diagnosed with the virus. The person was tested on Thursday and has remained in quarantine since then.
Coronavirus: All the latest updates on COVID-19 for Tasmania
"The fact that there might be community transmission indicates this is getting very serious and we have to take action urgently to protect the community from the risk of this virus," Ms White said.
"The Labor Party is calling on the government to close non-essential services and close schools.
"[A lockdown] will still enable those [workers] who are essential, who have to continue to respond to the threat of this virus, to go to work, but for everybody else the clear message should be: stay home."
Acting Public Health director Scott McKeown said the case of the Mersey worker contracting the virus was a "very serious incident".
He was not able to say what specific role the person has in the hospital.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Certainly prior to this case, all cases had direct links to people who travelled overseas or on cruise ships or a person who had been involved in either of those settings," Dr McKeown said, adding that it was too early to confirm an indication of community transmission.
"We need to investigate this case further," he said.
An incident management team has been established at the Mersey to respond to the incident, led by the Tasmanian Health Service.
"Public Health Services has initiated an investigation into this case in conjunction with the Tasmanian Health Service to ascertain the person's movements at work and also in the community to identify close contacts," Health Minister Sarah Courtney said. "That work is continuing today."
"Should any close contacts be identified through this investigation, those people will be contacted and given the appropriate advice.
"I'd like to assure Tasmanians that we will undertake this investigation as quickly as possible."
Sign up to one of our many newsletters: