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, 3,079 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in SA with hospitalisations sitting at 285. There was a decrease in ICU patients, with currently 24 in intensive care, five of who are on a ventilator.
Unfortunately, two deaths were recorded in SA in the past 24 hours, with further details regarding the passing to be reported later today.
Marshall noted that SA was seeing a “massive reducation,” in cases – a clear indication he believes that the state is in the peak of the Omicron wave. He further stated that the provisions currently in place have proven to be working, dropping SA’s cases down from the predicted peak of COVID-19 cases.
Of these cases, 2,257 were confirmed via a PCR test and 822 were from the SA Health administered rapid antigen tests (RAT).
The Premier continued to state that SA will begin breaking down hospitalized cases, with Marshall saying many of those in hospital with COVID-19 are there for another reason apart from their infection.
“This is a significant number we need to report,” said Marshall.
South Australia saw another high testing day, with a total of 20,515 reported tests taken in the past 24 hours. A total 13,319 of tests were the PCR, with a further 7,084 from the rapid at-home tests. The new Berri/Barmera RAT collection point saw 112 tests collected.
Marshall drove home the message that if an individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 return a negative RAT, they should seek out the highly-accurate PCR test, as it is more sensitive to the infection. A positive RAT does not need a PCR test to confirm it, but the infection must be reported.
SA Health is beginning to see furloughed staff members decrease, with 778 currently COVID-positive or working from home. Marshall said the high numbers of SA Health staff furloughed has placed strain on the system, with the Premier saying the government was looking at all and any opportunities to expand the workforce.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is a very tough time for our health professionals, but I think they are doing an incredible job,” said Marshall.
The turn-around for PCR tests continue to drop in comparison to last week. A further two regional RAT collection sites in Port Augusta and Murray Bridge are now open, operating between 8am and 6pm. A majority of the collection sites across regional and metropolitan SA will be rolled out in the next seven days. Those far away from RAT collection sites, there are PCR testing capability available.
Marshall continued to state that the RAT collection sites require a new workforce, hence the delay. It was revealed that the Police Commissioner does plan to roll out further sites in Adelaide’s north, with the final negotiations for two sites in Playford and Salisbury respectively set to open before the end of January.
South Australia continued to see another “good” vaccination day, with 19,269 individuals rolling up for their shots. Marshall said that SA’s seven-day average for vaccinations remains at an all time high, but hopes that the rate will continue to climb.
Women’s and Children’s Hospital to recieve $30.3M upgrade:
The Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) in North Adelaide is set to receive a $30.3 million investment to upgrade and sustain the site. This takes the upgrades to the WCH to over $80M ahead of their move to a CBD site adjacent the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
The $30.3M boost will see upgrades to the adolescent wing and a ten-bed emergency peadiatric ward.
Return to school:
After rejecting the Australian Education Union’s request to delay the start of Term 1 by two weeks, Marshall stated that the children need to be put first.
With the return to school inching closer, Marshall noted that Term 1 will be disruptive for staff and students in SA.
“I’m quite sure the advice we have received…is the advice we need to be listening to. It’s going to be a disruptive start…but I do believe we have the middle ground,” stated Marshall.
“I’m very grateful…to everyone working in the education department in South Australia.”
The Premier stated that SA has gone the furthest to deliver further in-depth to parents, students and teachers. However, the Governing Council is still working on the final return to school modelling and plan, with potential RATs to be administered at schools.
Currently, there is a strong focus by SA Health on the ventilation across South Australian schools.
Return to work:
Marshall further stated that he hopes that by the end of January, South Australia will begin a staggered return to work as well. The work from home arrangement for those who can remains in place.
A comprehensive statement regarding masks, density and vaccination status within a time frame is expected to be delivered in the coming days following further Omicron modelling undertaken by Professor Joshua Ross at the University of Adelaide.
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