Premier Steven Marshall and Dr Emily Kirkpatrick addressed the South Australian public this afternoon with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.
In the past 24 hours, South Australian COVID-19 cases have plummeted to 1,868 with hospitalisations further decreasing slightly to 287. There was an increase in ICU patients, with currently 32 in intensive care, and five on a ventilator.
The significant drop in cases saw yesterday’s total 20 per cent lower than the seven-day average of 2,630. A further 3,643 COVID-19 SA cases were recovered yesterday. There is currently upwards of 30,000 South Australians living with COVID-19 presently.
A total of 1,278 cases were confirmed via PCR, with a further 591 reported rapid antigen tests (RATs). Out of the hospitalisations, 63 individuals in hospital with COVID-19 are there for reasons other than their infection.
“We really are tracking extraordinarily well in South Australia,” said Marshall.
Testing numbers remained high, with upwards of 15,000 tests administered yesterday. 9,703 of these were PCR tests and a further 5,210 were SA Health administered RATs.
The turnaround time for PCR testing is currently low, with Marshall stating that individuals should seek out the accurate test if they are showing symptoms, as the RATs are less accurate in the beginning stages of a COVID-19 infection.
It was reported that SA has 1.1 million RATs in their possession, with Marshall announcing that the state has secured a further 22 million at-home tests, set to be delivered from the middle of February onwards.
Thousands of vaccination appointments are available across SA, with Marshall encouraging those due for their booster shot, first shot and second shot or paediatric dose to roll up their sleeves. South Australians will be able to walk into the Wayville mass vaccination clinic during tomorrow’s public holiday. The site has a capacity for 4,000 daily shots, with the Premier stating only 1,000 of those slots are booked.
Marshall further drove home that the open appointments are a “massive opportunity” for parents to book paediatric doses.
“If you have not been vaccinated, or due for your booster, please just go along,” said Marshall.
“There really is no excuse.”
The current health advice regarding booster shots for those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 recommends eligible individuals to receive their third dose one month post-infection. This is due to the individuals having greater protection from the virus one month following weeks from infection.
Out of the 60 Operation Limit compliance checks yesterday, only two warnings were issued by the state. The surveillance operation has been extended for a further two weeks as of Thursday last week.
SA School Teachers to Strike
Speaking on the proposed strike by South Australian teachers and the Education Union on the state’s return to school, Marshall said he is “hopeful” that the protest will not go ahead.
Professor Nicola Spurrier is meeting with the Education Union later this afternoon to discuss the relevant health advice and the 18 to 19 issues put forward by the union last week.
“I think we are on strong ground, we have listened to the experts since day one,” says Marshall.
“That ballot was opened before the issues had been finalized.
“I’m hopeful that this afternoon we can have a successful meeting with Professor Spurrier and the Education Union…we don’t support the strike and we are going to be everything we can to revert the strike.”
A reported two-thirds of SA teachers have voted to partake in a day’s strike after the union ballot closed yesterday. The strike is planned for February 2, the day of face-to-face learning for reception, Year 1, Year 7 & 8 and Year 12 resumes. The Education Union is set to decide if the strike will occur this afternoon.
New COVID Home Telephone Monitoring Program
A new phone monitoring program that calls vulnerable South Australians with COVID-19 twice a day is ensuring those in our community who require additional support have everything they need to isolate safely at home.
The new program is thanks to an extra $2.3 million of funding given to Wellbeing SA.
Marshall said the COVID Home Telephone Monitoring Program from Wellbeing SA is supporting the work of the COVID Response Care Team (CRCT) in monitoring more vulnerable members of the community with COVID-19.
“As more South Australians become infected with COVID the research shows at least 95% of them can complete their 10 days of isolation safely at home,” said Marshall.
“This new phone monitoring program will assist those people who require a bit more support at home while doing the right thing and isolating to protect the health of other South Australians.
“The program is not only monitoring a person’s overall health and wellbeing but also their ability to access food, medication, and other vital services, providing advice and assistance where necessary.”
“In addition to the new phone service, Wellbeing SA will further fortify our strong pandemic response and begin admitting patients to My Home Hospital who are also COVID-19 positive, providing hospital-level care from the comfort of a patient’s home,” said Marshal.
Wellbeing SA Chief Executive, Lyn Dean, said people are being referred to the COVID Home Telephone Monitoring Program after an initial health and wellbeing assessment from CRCT.
“The program takes referrals from CRCT, who assess whether a person is more at risk of becoming unwell in their isolation period or may be more vulnerable,” said Dean.
“They will then receive a detailed health assessment over the phone through the program and typically two phone calls a day to make sure they have everything they need to safely isolate in the community for the duration of their isolation period.
“People who develop a clinical concern that cannot be managed in their home or require urgent clinical review will be escalated back to the CRCT team for management and closer monitoring.”
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