Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced 10,212 new Covid infections and 13 deaths in the state as the chief health officer said the Omicron peak may have been reached on the Gold Coast.
All of the deaths were people over 70 years of age, including four people in their 70s, seven in their 80s and two people in their 90s.
Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the Gold Coast, where the major hospital now had nine wards devoted to Coid-19 patients, may be close or have even passed the peak of the current outbreak.
‘Gold Coast numbers have declined slightly every day for the past four days, it would appear the Gold Coast is close to or past the current peak,’ Dr Gerrard said.
Dr Gerrard said 878 people were in Queensland public hospitals with Covid, a slight rise on yesterday’s figure of 863.
‘The number of people in hospital appears to be significantly lower than we had expected at this stage,’ Dr Gerrard said.
‘This we believe has to do with people’s changing behaviour in avoiding getting infection.
‘We won’t know for another week or so when we hit the general peak for Queensland and particularly for south-east Queensland – exactly how high that peak of hospitalisations would be.
‘But we were certainly anticipating, certainly, several thousand people in hospital.’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced 10,212 new Covid infections and 13 deaths in the state
Yesterday he said falls in hospitalisations over consecutive days would be a signal the current Omicron outbreak has reached its peak.
‘I’m thinking two, three or four days – that’s the sort of number we should be looking for,’ he said on Sunday.
‘In reality, we’re not going to be able to tell when we reach the peak until it has passed.
‘The real proof will be when the numbers of patients start to fall and so that will be a number of days after the actual true peak…’
Dr Gerrard said the state’s Covid hospitalisations and deaths were getting harder to accurately record as authorities revealed that private hospital virus patients haven’t been included in its figures.
Another 10 people died and 11,947 new cases were recorded on Sunday, with the number of active cases hitting 85,112.
There were 863 patients being treated for Covid in Queensland public hospitals and another 47 in intensive care and 17 people on ventilators.
Dr Gerrard said it was becoming more difficult to distinguish which patients were in hospital because of Covid and which patients had been admitted to hospital for other reasons but tested positive for the virus.
He admitted that almost everyone who died after testing positive was being recorded as a virus death.
‘Unless it’s very clear, very, very clear that someone has died from a completely unrelated cause,’ he said.
‘The number of people in hospital appears to be significantly lower than we had expected at this stage,’ Queensland Chief Health Office Dr Gerrard said
From today, anyone in Queensland who had their second dose of a Covid vaccine in October or earlier will become eligible for a third jab. Pictured: Masked residents seen in Brisbane CBD
A Covid-19 testing centre at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Queensland – hospitalisations in the city had fallen the past four days, chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said on Monday
Dr Gerrard said hospitalisations will rise in coming days as authorities add the data from private hospitals to the daily figures for the first time.
He said more patients in private facilities were testing positive and public hospitals had started transferring some stable Covid patients to private hospitals.
Yesterday Health Minister Yvette D’Ath ruled out rapid antigen testing school students twice a week after the NSW government announced a plan to do so.
She said there was no national health advice to do so, it was ‘not a comfortable test at the best of times’ and rapid test supplies were limited in Queensland.
‘We believe that those tests are best focused in the areas where we need them the most, such as …being able to get hold of them for critical essential workers, aged Care, health,’ the minister said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the government will release its back-to-schools plan this week.
She and Ms D’Ath again urged Queensland parents to get five to 11-year-old children vaccinated in the two weeks before the state’s schools resume on February 7.
Fully vaccinated international travellers were allowed back into Queensland last Saturday without having to quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers must still quarantine for 14 days after arrival
Dr Gerrard warned that the virus will spread in schools once students return.
‘The vast majority of children who acquire this virus, they have a mild illness,’ he said.
‘But because we know there will be very large numbers of cases in children, there will be a small number who will get a significant complication from this virus because of the sheer numbers involved.
‘My impression is most young people are not afraid of of this virus which is probably legitimate but we want them to vaccinated because there can be complications.’
It was announced yesterday that 65.3 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had now received a booster jab.
From today, anyone in Queensland who had their second dose of a Covid vaccine in October or earlier will become eligible for a third jab.
The state is on the cusp of passing 90 per cent of Queenslanders 16 years and over having received two doses of a Covid vaccine.
On Saturday, fully vaccinated international travellers were allowed back into the state without having to quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers must still quarantine for 14 days after arrival.