Premier Steven Marshall addressed the South Australian public this morning with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.
In the past 24 hours, South Australian COVID-19 cases have dropped slightly to 1953 which is below the 7 day average.
Of these cases 1434 were PCR tests and 519 were from RAT tests. Marshall said he does not yet have the numbers of the total recovered but expects this is a continuation of more recovering than becoming infected.
Hospitalisations remain at 288. There was an increase in ICU patients, with currently 27 in intensive care, and five on a ventilator.
“We are well within our capacity in terms of intensive care and in our country hospitals as well,” Marshall said.
He encouraged people to continue getting PCR tests as there is currently no delays or lines and this form of testing is more accurate.
While he did not yet have the statistics on vaccinations from yesterday, Marshall said this will be announced later today and encourages people to continue getting vaccinated with thousands of appointments available every day.
As students head back to school in the coming weeks, he said many senior students who are due for their second doses and booster shots if they are over 18 should roll up their sleeves.
RETURN TO WORK
As the city returns to work at 25% capacity today, Marshall said SA is the first state in the country to move away from the work from home guidance and encourage working in the office.
Offices will now work in a 1x4sqm density, so there is enough space to be spread out. The government and SA Health will monitor the situation following the initial return to work.
He hopes for workers to return particularly to the CBD which has been hit hard.
Marshall encourages people to get out and spend money in shops, cafes and restaurants that they haven’t been able to visit while working from home.
When asked about when we can expect to work at 50%-75% capacity, Marshall said there is no timeline on this yet, but the return to 25% capacity is a good first step.
It is still encouraged for workers to wear face masks even in the office.
There was a meeting this morning with Professor Joshua Ross at the University of Adelaide who is giving guidance on the COVID-19 modelling, as they look into the effects of easing restrictions.
Marshall said it is expected that the next restrictions to ease will be of capacity restrictions in the hospitality sector with concerns for this struggling industry.
“We are very concerned on the restrictions on the hospitality industry … we are looking at the effects of easing those restrictions as we don’t want a second wave in SA,” Marshall said.
“I don’t want to be drawn today of all changes to restrictions, but I think density will be first because, in terms of hospitality, it relates to jobs.
“While home gathering restrictions can be annoying, we need to be mindful of three issues being health, social and welfare, and also the economic impacts of these restrictions.”
RETURN TO SCHOOL
Marshall commented the proposed strike by South Australian teachers and the Education Union on the state’s return to school.
He said that on Tuesday, Professor Nicola Spurrier met with the Education Union to discuss the relevant health advice and the 18 to 19 issues put forward by the union last week.
From the meeting, Marshall said the issues have now been narrowed down to 3 to 5, with the biggest concern still being surveillance testing.
Marshall said Spurrier outlined why RATs should not be used for surveillance testing in schools as when not used correctly, they can give a false sense of security and are highly inaccurate in regard to false negatives.
“A negative doesn’t necessary mean you are negative,” he said.
“We don’t support RATs for surveillance for teachers – only for close contacts.”
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