COVID-19

Three new cases identified with SA still on track to end lockdown

Premier Steven Marshall today addressed the South Australian public with news of the state’s latest case numbers and exposure site.

Premier Steven Marshall, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier, Health Minister Stephen Wade and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens have addressed the public today on what is the state’s fifth day of official lockdown.

Three new cases have been reported over night, but all three have been in strict quarantine since the beginning of their infectious period. Premier Steven Marshall was pleased that SA was still on track to come out of the 7 day lockdown at 00:01 on Wednesday morning.

One of the three cases is a young child who was a returning Australian from overseas. The child’s parent was already positive and both are now quarantining in the Tom’s Court medi-hotel. The other two cases are both linked to the Modbury cluster.

Steven Marshall said his primary focus coming out of lockdown was to ensure as many people can get back into work as safely as possible, but warned he would be careful not to lift any restrictions too quickly.

The transition committee will be meeting today and tomorrow to assess the restrictions that would be cautiously eased, should South Australia leave its lockdown late on Tuesday. Marshall was pleased to see the high-level of cooperation amongst South Australians and attributed this to the compliance of individuals within the state.

The Premier did warn that restrictions would be eased gradually and individuals should not expect going back to 75% occupancy of venues on day one. Marshall was firm he did not want to speculate what level of restrictions South Australia would be going back to at this point and instead wanted to focus on celebrating the fantastic results SA has seen over the weekend.

The Premier stressed he was very concerned about the situation in NSW, with a further 141 cases announced today, following a weekend of anti-lockdown protests across Sydney and Melbourne.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens noted that there were three arrests made in South Australian yesterday following reports of a planned anti-lockdown protest and expressed his deep disappointment in this behaviour as well as condemning any verbal abuse directed towards young front-line retail workers in supermarkets.

Yesterday was a new record with 23,719 tests undertaken across South Australia, with testing numbers skyrocketing from 4,000 to over 20,000 each day.

Marshall warned that tomorrow would be D-Day for South Australia to decide whether they would come out of the short, sharp 7 day lockdown implemented last Tuesday for the state. He urged that had these three cases been out of the community the lockdown would be a very different story.

This comes after it was announced yesterday that South Australia looks on track to complete its 7 day lockdown, with just one new case announced on both Friday and Saturday, even after record days of testing numbers that saw over 23,000 people tested over a 24 hour period.

Testing numbers have seen a great boost with the implementation of a test booking system trialed over the weekend, where people can book in their testing slots, reducing test times from as long as 14 hours to just one hour in many cases.

This weekend’s extreme weather did see the closure of the Victoria Park testing centre and the set up of a more weather-resistant testing site at Mile End’s Netball SA headquarters which has already processed more than 200 tests so far today. The Victoria Park site remains closed today.

The state’s growing list of exposure sites is rapidly being updated on SA Health’s website with more than 18,000 individuals in the state having been identified as visiting an exposure site, though not all of these are Tier 1 sites that require individuals contacted to isolate.

Professor Nicola Spurrier revealed that some exposure sites had been relaxed, such as areas related to the Westminster School exposure site, with some individuals now allowed to leave quarantine.

Professor Spurrier also noted that they have very low rates of vaccinations amongst those who have tested positive in SA, with the majority of the positive cases having not received their vaccines or only having received one dose.

There is currently a proposal in the pipeline to expand the mandatory vaccine to aged care workers. 

Due to SA’s current COVID situation, thousands are currently quarantining and lining up to get tested. For our updated list of exposure sites, visit here.

COVID-19 TESTING SITE UPDATES

The Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi COVID-19 drive-through testing site is temporarily closed, due to weather. Follow SA Health’s post on Facebook (link here) for the latest updates on testing sites impacted by the weather. To find an alternative COVID-19 testing site near you, please visit: sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting

ALL SOUTH AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 SHOULD GET TESTED ON THE DAY SYMPTOMS APPEAR.

The announcement today comes amidst reports throughout the week that testing site workers were experiencing a high-level of abuse from those frustrated at waiting in long test lines.

One of the testers shared the below with Glam Adelaide after yesterday’s storms, which is a timely reminder, after the record 23,000 tests done on Saturday, that those working at the testing sites are operating under trying conditions.

For anyone getting tested, please be considerate and kind.

“The inefficiencies, the long queues, the angry patients screaming abuse at us. It’s finally got to me. 

We are doing 10 and a half hour days, 7 days a week… In the rain, in the wind, hail pelted down yesterday… I feared our marquee would take off… we had to pause work due to lightning! 

Where is the duty of care? Surely we have had plenty of time to better prepare for this? Surely the SA government could be leasing out big empty warehouses somewhere?

We are still paper based despite the highly technological age we live in. Trying to fill in patient details on the roadside, huddled low to give patients respectful eye contact in their cars and holding an umbrella in a way that hurts our necks for hours making it hard to sleep at night… rain spitting up at us off the road from drivers who pass by doing 40-50km, STILL, despite us being clear as day to see, dressed head to toe in blue coloured PPE, no thought to slow down for our safety. 

We run between cars as to not keep patients waiting, we are rushed and under pressure. Our accuracy has to be 100% or else patients do not get their results in a timely manner. The mental stress is just as exhausting as the physical stress.

For those of you who know me well you know I have a stubborn work ethic, I am determined and hard headed, I go to work like I would go to war and do not stop but unlike any job I’ve faced this has me feeling broken and beat, I feel unheard, unappreciated, unsupported and overused. The conditions are atrocious.

Yet despite it now being almost 3am and despite being awake listening to the rain and wind outside my window knowing I’m in for another wet, windy, challenging day, I am still going to be there, dressed in full PPE, clipboard in hand, umbrella awkwardly placed against my neck, huddled down low to ensure I keep my integrity of giving patients the eye contact they deserve, another 10 and a half hours on my feet, in the rain.. 

Let’s hope this lockdown does the trick, let’s hope people are doing the right thing and staying home so we can get this cluster undercontrol.

Because I won’t stop. I will go to war everyday.

Just hand me the f%@kin’ clipboard.”

Symptoms include:

– Fever or chills (in the absence of an alternative illness that explains these symptoms)
– An acute respiratory infection e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath
– Loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste
– Diarrhoea and vomiting

For more information: SA COVID-19 Information Line 1800 253 787; sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019.

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