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SA eyes restrictions lift amid COVID case spike


South Australia’s COVID-Ready Committee will today discuss a potential further easing of COVID-19 restrictions after the state yesterday posted its highest number of daily cases for a month.

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SA Health reported 1958 new cases on Wednesday, up from 1378 on Tuesday, and no new COVID-19-linked deaths.

The last time the South Australia daily caseload was this high was January 26 when 2401 cases were reported.

However, the number of people in hospital yesterday dropped from 205 to 192.

Of those in hospital with the virus, 14 are in intensive care and three people are on a ventilator.

There are 14,119 active cases across the state.

SA Health said that 10,598 people received a PCR test in South Australia on Tuesday – a 20.3 per cent increase on the previous 24 hours.

The latest spike in cases comes ahead of a meeting of the COVID-Ready Committee today.

Premier Steven Marshall, who chairs the committee, flagged yesterday that further restrictions could be eased after the meeting although was coy on whether an announcement would be made on Thursday.

“Let’s wait to see what we get through that meeting,” he told reporters yesterday.

“Last time we did announce those changes on the Thursday but let’s see how far we get.

“The hospital capacity is fine at the moment … we have been very significantly reducing restrictions over the last four or five weeks and that’s going to continue come tomorrow.”

New South Wales and the ACT yesterday became the latest eastern states to ease mask-wearing rules and other restrictions following a similar softening of mandates in Queensland and Victoria.

Meanwhile, the number of school students isolating in South Australia – either infected with COVID or as contacts of cases – have been creeping up since all year levels returned to classrooms on February 14.

Latest data from the Education Department shows that on Monday and Tuesday this week, 1.6 per cent of public school students were away from school for COVID-related reasons, up from 1.4 per cent on Friday and 0.7 per cent at the start of Week 2.

On Tuesday, 258 teachers and 180 school services officers were absent for COVID-related reasons, either infected, isolating or caring for someone else.

That’s an increase on Monday’s figures when 230 teachers and 151 school services officers were absent for COVID reasons.

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