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SA 'starting to see some real green shoots' in COVID outlook: Marshall

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Premier Steven Marshall says South Australia is starting to see improvements in its fight against COVID-19, with the number of new cases dropping overnight to 4024 ahead of an anticipated peak later this month.

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Speaking to reporters via a teleconference call this afternoon, Marshall said South Australia would likely see its case numbers “jumping around”, with the state sitting around the mid-4000s daily caseload mark for “at least part of a week now”.

He said the Government hoped to release by the end of this week new modelling which showed “where we were headed (and) where we’re now heading”, as well as a clearer indication of when the state would hit its caseload peak.

“Certainly, I’ve been messaging that (peak) is likely to occur before the end of this month,” Marshall said.

“This is not going to be something that’s going to be lingering for six months, 12 months.

“The reality is that we are cautious here in South Australia, but I think we’re starting to see some real green shoots, some real improvement in our position over two weeks ago.”

There were 4024 new cases of COVID-19 reported in South Australia on Monday from 21,845 tests, including 155 rapid antigen tests.

Today’s case number is a drop from 4506 on Sunday, and the lowest number since Friday.

Despite the drop in cases, two more people have died with the virus – a man in his 90s and a woman in her 80s.

The number of people in hospital has also grown to 188, with 21 in intensive care and four on ventilators.

Of the people in hospital, 107 are fully-vaccinated, 18 are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, and 63 have an unknown vaccination status.

“We are seeing an increase in hospitalisation… (so) we’re not at the peak yet,” Marshall said.

“(But) there are still no children at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital that have been in ICU yet right throughout this Omicron outbreak.”

Marshall said SA Police officers conducted 78 inspections of businesses yesterday as part of “Operation Limit”, but of those, only three were found to be noncompliant with COVID-19 restrictions.

He said those businesses would receive an “education” about how to comply with the rules.

Meanwhile, Marshall said the government was considering allowing hospital workers who are identified as close contacts to go to work.

It follows similar moves in New South Wales in response to staffing shortages across hospitals. The Queensland Government is also considering relaxing quarantine requirements for healthcare workers.

“I don’t think we will be returning COVID-positive people back to work in our hospitals settings, but certainly some of the close contacts,” Marshall said.

“I think we’re a long way off that in South Australia, but of course we just need to see where this is going to go in this particular pandemic.”

The government is also planning for a scheduled change in regulations set to come into force on Thursday, which would require close contacts of positive cases to receive a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) instead of a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

“All of the plans are moving along very quickly for the changed position that we have with Rapid Antigen Testing,” Marshall said.

“We will be giving further details over the course of the next couple of days.”

Marshall is quarantining at home until Thursday night after he was identified as a close contact of his daughter, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

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