Premier Steven Marshall addressed the South Australian public from isolation this afternoon with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.
In the past 24 hours, 3,715 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in SA with a decrease of hospitalisations to 190. There was a spike in ICU patients, with currently 27 in the ICU, six of who are on a ventilator.
Unfortunately, South Australia has recorded seven deaths over the past couple of days. Six of the recorded deaths were women aged between 60 and 100 and a man in his 90s. Marshall said there is no information regarding whether the individuals passed at home or in a hospital, but would seek to find out that information.
It was further stated that there is a massive overrepresentation of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals in the ICU.
A total of 19,398 COVID-19 tests were taken yesterday, 737 of which were reported from a rapid antigen test. Marshall thanked those working across SA Health, SA Pathology and those in private clinics for working in the extreme heat conditions yesterday and supporting the health system.
Marshall further stated that he believes that SA’s reporting on cases are very accurate on the cases and statistics emerging each day. Marshall continued saying that SA has the highest testing rate per capita in Australia, and the lowest waiting times.
Vaccination numbers have also continued to rise in SA, with the state recording a total of 17,691 vaccinations yesterday, and a large number Marshall noted were booster shots. A total of 1500 people also received their first dose of the vaccination.
The new Mile End vaccination clinic opened its doors today, freeing up more spaces for South Australians to receive their booster shots. The site will administer an extra 5000 shots per week in its infancy, increasing to a total of 15,000 vaccinations per week.
A further 10,000 paediatric doses have been secured by SA, with a total of 20,000 paediatric vaccinations set to be available by the end of the month, just in time for kids to return to school.
Staying on the subject of schools, Marshall said that the state is “on track” to return a result to SA on the return to school by Friday following the national cabinet meeting.
“Obviously our preferred option is to return children back to school face-to-face as soon as possible,” said Marshall.
Tomorrow marks the first day of the new close contact regime, which will see those identified a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case is able to use two state-administered rapid antigen tests instead of a PCR test.
This will affect those deemed a close contact from today onwards. Close contacts will be able to visit the SA Health website and register to receive their free RATs. The individual will then supply their phone number and a digital receipt used at collection will be sent to their phone. If you return a positive test, it will be mandatory to report the case back to the state.
At the moment, close contacts can collect the RATs from the Southern Parklands testing site. A total of 13,000 tests will be available at the site, with SA Health planning to open a further 10 to 11 collection spots for RATs across the state – including both metropolitan and regional SA.
The Southern Parklands site will operate from 7 am to 9 pm. In the next couple of days, SA Health will release several other sites opening and operating as RATs collection points.
“We want to get people out the PCR testing line, we want to reserve that for people who have symptoms,” said Marshall.
“We will be making it mandatory for a positive result to be reported, whether they be a SA Health or privately acquired RAT.
“Once you have the positive…you will no longer be required to get a PCR result.”
More beds within SA’s health system are being dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients. The government says this is so that South Australians can continue to get the care they need, when they need it, amid the Omicron surge.
Premier Marshall said the latest update to the Government’s hospital plan will include transferring patients from public hospitals into private hospitals to create about 500 dedicated ward beds and also provide the capacity to provide intensive care for up to 60 patients.
“We already have 190 patients in beds in South Australia,” said Marshall. “We want to be able to provide up to 500 beds.”
Friday or Saturday is expected to be the days in which South Australia receives the predicated cases we are expected to see in the following weeks in the lead up to the peak, and the modelling used for the Delta and Omicron variant.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.
Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting.
More information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.
For more information visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/ or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.