COVID-19

SA COVID-19 cases rise to 3,482 as booster shot wait time shrinks

SA has reduced booster shot wait times from four months to three,as the state reports six COVID-linked deaths in the last 24 hours with cases rising to 3,482.

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, 3,482 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in SA with hospitalisations increasing to 294. There was a decrease in ICU patients, with currently 23 in intensive care, four of which are on a ventilator. A total of 3,550 cases recovered from COVID-19, with Marshall saying SA is reporting well below their seven-day average.

The premier stated that the rise in hospitalizations are artificially inflated as a result of some cases in regional locations being transported to hospitals where there is a lack of suitable medi-hotels.

Unfortunately, six deaths were recorded in SA in the past 24 hours, with further details regarding the passings to be reported later today.

South Australia continued to see another high testing day, with a total of 21,393 tests administered in the last 24 hours. This result is a combination of both the PCR tests and the state-administered rapid antigen tests (RATs).

23,491 vaccination doses were administered across SA in the last 24 hours. The Jubilee Pavilion will open exclusively for Moderna booster vaccinations tomorrow.

Marshall commended the nearly 60% of eligible South Australians who have already rolled up their sleeve to protect themselves, families and community – and urged the next cohort of South Australians who are now eligible to do the same.

Within the next 24 hours, the state government will deliver a final plan and response to the 102 outbreaks in the Aged Care sector.

Further modelling on COVID-19 cases and the state’s response with restrictions will be expected to be delivered Friday. This will include an update on the return to work situation. The premier continued to state that he believed South Australia was at the peak of the Omicron wave.

“The sooner we can get that vaccination rate up the sooner we can ease restrictions,” said Marshall.

“We haven’t set a metric…we have a hospital capacity…we want to make sure we don’t go near that upper limit.

“We need to see a stabilization [in cases], and then we may be in a position to ease restrictions.”

Booster shot wait time shrinks:

More than 200,000 additional South Australians are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster as today, with Marshall announcing that the state is reducing the wait time between the second dose and booster to three months instead of four.

“This next step in our Omicron response plan increases the number of South Australians eligible for their booster by about 25 per cent and will maximise our booster coverage, arming even more South Australians against the new variant by providing even better protection for the entire community,” said Marshall.

“These boosters are really available for those 18 years and older who have had three months elapse since their second dose.”

Marshall stated that ultimately he believes the definition of fully vaccinated will shift to include having the third vaccine.

GPS and pharmacies will continue to administer 50 per cent of the vaccinations alongside SA Health.

Rapid Antigen Test collection sites:

Both the Mount Gambier and Port Adelaide’s RAT collection sites are set to open tomorrow, with two new sites at Narracorte and Charles Sturt opening next week. Onkaparinga will then open, before Playford and Sailsbury.

Marshall continued to drive home the message for close contacts that if the RATs are not available in their LGA to go and get a PCR test. Further, if a negative RAT is showing symptoms of COVID-19, the premier urged them to undertake a PCR test as well.

“It’s a short lineup [for PCR], go get that test and we will get the results back to you as quickly as possible,” said Marshall.

A shipping order of 200,000 RATs is coming into SA daily, with the state currently holding 1.4 million RATs in stock. Marshall said that South Australia had also confirmed a purchase order of a further 5 million rapid at-home tests.

“We are using these obviously,” said Marshall. “We’re handing them out for free in the public when they meet the requirement.”

RAT hoarding:

Responding to the significant and serious allegations emerging from other states regarding the hoarding of rapid antigen tests destined for South Australia, Premier Marshall slammed those partaking in the activity.

“It’s quite possibly illegal and a kick in the gut to South Australia,” said Marshall.

The premier said he had contacted all other state governments and they have denied having any partaking in the hoarding. Marshall said the ACCC will be the regulatory body best for dealing with the serious allegations.

Return to school:

When facing questions about the approaching return to school, Marshall echoed previous statements that Term 1’s staggered start will contribute to a disruptive start, but stood by the decision.

“We know that students do much better in a face to face environment than they do online.”

 “All the evidence we have been supplied that we have the hospital capacity to handle these students returning to school.”

Speaking on student surveillance, Marshall stated that SA has not received any health advice relating to testing school students.

 “I think it would be very hard to get one of those swabs up a student’s nose twice a week – it’s hard enough to get them to eat carrots.”

When asked to ease the nerves of parents of young children receiving their primary doses, the premier stated that his “strong advice to every South Australian is to listen to the advice of the experts.”

“The experts are saying the vaccine is safe.”

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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