COVID-19

3829 COVID-19 cases reported as concerns rise for residential aged care sector

Premier Steven Marshall addressed the South Australian public this afternoon with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.

Premier Steven Marshall addressed the South Australian public this afternoon with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.

In the past 24 hours, 3829 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in SA with hospitalisations at 229. He was pleased to announce that there were no deaths.

Of the positive cases, a total of 2860 cases were confirmed via a PCR test, with a further 969 confirmed using a rapid antigen test registered on the SA Health site.

Intensive care patients remained at 26, with five of the ICU cases on a ventilator. 

Marshall said that yesterday 14873 PCR tests were taken and a total of 22282 RAT tests (2 per person) were picked up from the SA Health distribution sites. He said tests for 6324 people were picked up in the city and tests for 185 people were picked up at the Berri Barmera site.

“We are very satisfied with the testing rate in South Australia,” Marshall stated.

He said the covid positive cases show an indication that we are reaching the peak with a steadying of those infected. He said the number increase is nothing like it was a few weeks ago where it was doubling every few days.

He said 3783 positive cases were recovered yesterday.

“We’re about in equilibrium – in fact over the last two days we’ve had more people recovered than are infected,” Marshall said.

He added that while the rates are steady at the moment, we can’t be complacent as this is a very transmissible variant and we are still seeing big numbers in the eastern states.

He said that in the 7 days up the January 15, 138,000 vaccinations were reported which is a massive record for the state.

He states that 567 SA Health staff are currently COVID-19 positive or close contacts, which is a drop from 918 two days ago.

“We are continuing to do compliance checks in South Australia,” Marshall stated.

“We did 69 checks yesterday and I am proud to say that we had no expiations.”

RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE SECTOR

Marshall said that there are concerns about the outbreaks in the residential aged care sector. He said there have been 102 outbreaks and cases at 154 aged care sites.

Marshall said the definition of an outbreak is a single resident or two staff members. Marshall said the cases are affecting 2% of staff and 4% of residents in the state which is on the lower end of the scale on a national basis. However, he states that they are looking to provide support for these outbreaks.

This support is in regard to testing and provision with equipment, PPE, and a range of other issues.

Marshall said while the area of aged care is a federal government responsibility, the state government want to help as much as they can too.

He said the number of outbreaks is higher than was modelled with the Delta strain and added that the Omicron strain is less severe but more transmissible.

He said the workforce is a major issue with positive cases and close contacts in quarantine and the return to work framework is being revised to provide workforce relief to aid concerns in the aged care sector.

SHORTENING QUARANTINE TIMES

Marshall said there are federal discussions at the AAPA meeting about shortening quarantine times for a quicker return to work.

“We are the longest in the country at 10 days,” he said.

“All other places are 7 days, so we will look at shortening it.”

EDUCATION

When asked about support for teachers who could be caught in a constant state of isolation when outside of work, Marshall said they are working through these issues and seeking further advice.

He said that he thinks SA has the balance right and wants to work with education to navigate through to keep teachers and staff at a lower risk.

“I’m confident we will find a middle ground of what will work best.”

Marshall said he has seen no evidence of increased hospitalisation in children and parents should be put at ease knowing Omicron is very transmissible but low severity.

SA will retain the hybrid model of returning to school despite the eastern states return to school plan requiring all students to return on the same day.

RAT COLLECTION SITES

Marshall states that 25,000 additional RAT tests are coming in every day.

“We are handing out a huge number of free kits, we have already delivered over 73,000 here in the parklands and we are opening more and more sites.”

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens commented on the RAT test distribution sites.

“In terms of RAT collection sites, we will have sites operating in Port Augusta and Murray Bridge tomorrow,” Stevens said.

He said SAPOL are looking to expand RAT collection sites to include the LGA’s of Charles Sturt, Naracoorte, Onkaparinga in the coming days.

He continued that RAT collection points are set to open in Port Lincoln and Salisbury, in the near future.

SAPOL is also looking at installing pop-up RAT collection sites near outbreak locations to create easier access.

The current duration of going through the collection sites is 4-8 minutes for people to get from the entrance to the site and out the other side.

“Once you’ve picked up your test, you go home and upload your results.

“We particularly want positive results, but we also want negative and inclusive results as we want to get a clear picture of how the RATs are working.”

You may not always receive a call, SMS or email from SA Health.

You must follow the relevant health advice even if you have not been contacted.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

For more information on health advice and requirements for households, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.

Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting

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