With Adelaide’s northern suburbs cluster growing to 18 confirmed cases, questions are now being asked about how the first case escaped from hotel quarantine into the community.

And while it may still be too early to identify exactly how the first case escaped, the state’s chief public health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier believes that the hotel worker had not had direct contact with anybody in quarantine.

Three workers at Peppers Hotel on Waymouth Street have now tested positive to the virus, and while it is unclear who first contracted it, health authorities believe it could be a cleaner.

“At the moment it looks like the person back-of-house might have been the first case,” Prof Spurrier said.

The cleaner at the centre of the cases did not have any direct contact with people staying in quarantine, and was not undertaking any in-room cleaning.

The revelation would mean that the virus was transferred on a surface and not directly between people.

Two security guards from the hotel also returned positive cases.

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Meanwhile, Premier Steven Marshall was quick to quash any suggestions that South Australia’s hotel quarantine program is to blame for the emergence of the cluster.

“The reality is that we have had very few infections with workers in hotels because we have extraordinarily high standards,” Premier Steven Marshall said this morning.

“This worker in particular, she never came into contact once with any single person in a room.”

The Premier went on to reaffirm SA’s commitment to repatriating Australians via South Australia, saying that we have “an obligation” to bring people back home.