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Three more COVID deaths bring SA toll to 120

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Another three people with COVID-19 have died in South Australia to bring the state’s pandemic toll to 120 — with 116 deaths recorded since the Marshall Government opened borders on November 23.

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SA Health confirmed the deaths include a woman in her 90s, a man in his 80s, and a man in his 90s.

The state on Tuesday recorded a drop in new positive cases down to 1266 with 274 COVID hospitalisations, including 22 in ICU and five patients on ventilators.

Only 7,031 PCR test numbers were registered on Tuesday, down 20 per cent on Monday’s numbers.

The number of positive cases fell to below 19,000, down from more than 35,000 last month.

Marshall this morning hailed the latest COVID figures as evidence that the peak of the Omicron wave had passed in South Australia.

“The last two years with coronavirus have been an extraordinarily tough time for all South Australians,” he said.

“We’re not through it yet and can’t get complacent, but South Australians can feel a sense of pride that we’ve got through a pandemic that has cost 5.6 million lives around the world.”

Marshall said that SA’s death toll from the pandemic now stood at 120.

The toll before borders opened was four.

At Modbury Hospital where he unveiled a 26-bed short-stay unit as part of a $98 million upgrade, Marshall flagged that an announcement on resuming elective surgery could be made “later today”.

It comes as a Productivity Commission review revealed 63 per cent of critical patients attending SA emergency departments in 2020-21 were seen within clinically acceptable timeframes — below the national average of  71 per cent last financial year.

Ambulance response times across SA increased by 10 minutes to an average of 32.8 minutes.

Health Minister Stephen Wade attributed ambulance ramping to staff furloughed due to the pandemic and said that “infection control measures in hospitals” meant that even when SA was COVID-free the pandemic had impacted on ambulance ramping.

Marshall blamed the ramping issue on the previous Labor government.

“The mess that Labor left the health system in needs time to unwind, it needs time to improve,” Marshall said.

He countered Labor’s line of attack that his government would spend money on stadiums instead of healthcare, arguing that his $662m Riverbank Arena election pledge will only cost $30m in the next four years.

“If Labor think they can transform health with $30m in a four year period, they are just kidding themselves,” Marshall said.

Marshall held the press conference at Modbury Hospital, where he unveiled a new 26-bed short-stay unit as part of a $98 million upgrade.

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