Premier Steven Marshall and Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier addressed the South Australian public today with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.
In the past 24 hours, 3,707 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in SA with an increase of hospitalisations to 144. There are currently now 16 individuals in the ICU, one of which is on a ventilator. Unfortunately, South Australia has recorded two deaths over the past 48 hours, one in their 60s and the other in their 90s, both with underlying conditions.
80 per cent of people in ICU are not vaccinated, with 92 to 93 per cent of the genome testing of COVID-19 of the Omicron variant.
Across SA Health a combined 903 individuals are currently isolated as a result of returning a positive COVID result or being identified as a close contact. A total of 356 SA Health staff are infected with COVID-19, with a further 547 deemed close contact.
Over 100 nursing homes in SA currently have a COVID-19 outbreak. An aged care facility outbreak is considered to be one resident or two staff members infected with COVID – a narrow definition Spurrier noted as a result of an Aged Care facility is a vulnerable setting. The definition differs depending on the setting.
Currently, Naracoorte in the Limestone Coast is seeing a COVID-19 outbreak in an abattoir, with over 100 people testing positive for the virus. Spurrier said the company is doing plenty of testing and SA Health is ensuring that the outbreak does not spread to the wider community.
Speaking on infections deriving from Robe, Spurrier said that the beachside destination was a popular place to celebrate the New Year and encouraged those who spent time there to monitor symptoms and go get tested.
The CHO said that SA Health has not collated the data of how many individuals would be infected with COVID-19, but noted that the Caledonian Inn was listed as an exposure site last night. Spurrier further said she does expect it to be largely the younger cohort.
Marshall continued to state that South Australia has reported the lowest positive rate of COVID-19 per capita across SA today, with the state’s recorded cases not escalating as quickly as those in the eastern states. Spurrier also echoed the recent statements that SA’s peak for Omicron will be reached at the end of January.
A total of 20,489 COVID tests were conducted in the past 24 hours – with SA recording the highest requested symptomatic tests, demonstrating that South Australia is moving away from using the PCR test as a surveillance method.
The premier continued to say that the SA Health PCR test booking service will also see some upgrades soon, with the system set to be simplified for web and mobile users.
Vaccination rates continue to increase across the state as more South Australians become eligible for their booster shots. SA reported over 19,000 individuals rolling up for a vaccination for the third day in a row.
To accommodate the demand for vaccinations, Marshall further announced that a pop-up vaccination clinic is coming to Mile End, set to open on January 12. The pop-up clinic will be administrating 5,000 doses per week in its initial stage, moving to 15,000 per week further down the track.
Marshall stated that the Mile End site will be largely dedicated to those receiving their COVID-19 booster shots. The new site will see SA continuing to “flex up” their capacity to deliver the essential boosters to South Australians. Bookings for the Mile End clinic open today.
Marshall said a statement later today regarding the cancellation of appointments for children aged 5-11 will be delivered, continuing that SA wants to “get children doses as quickly as possible,” noting the reduced dose is a requirement of the commonwealth.
All and every option will be taken in regards to students returning, making sure that both students and staff are as safe as possible. Marshall said SA will have a final decision on the return to school by the end of next week, with a national cabinet meeting also scheduled to take place on Thursday.
“It is our preference to get children back to school, as we know they do have better outcomes with face-to-face learning,” said Marshall.
“We need to consider the return to school in light of the Omicron variant.”
Children aged 5-11 will be eligible for the vaccine on January 10.
Spurrier further said to be “completely pragmatic, there will be some disruption with the beginning of school,” due to teachers and children potentially being sick.
Spurrier further laid the rumours to bed that she did not get COVID-19 and that she will not be resigning.
“Why would I resign in the middle of a pandemic, I’m here to do a job,” stated Spurrier.
The CHO further stated that SA’s definition for close contacts will continue to remain the same.
As of January 6, 2022, 88.5 per cent of South Australians aged 12 and over have received both doses of a TGA approved vaccination. A total of 92.7 per cent of SA residents 12 and over have also received their first dose.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.
Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting.
More information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.
For more information visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/ or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.