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Booster rollout begins as SA virus peak looms


COVID-19 hospitalisations in South Australia have grown and the state’s cases could hit their peak this week, as the rollout of a fourth vaccine dose for vulnerable groups begins across the country.

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SA Health recorded one COVID-19 death and 4096 cases on Sunday, down from the 4483 reported on Saturday, although testing was also down 14 per cent.

There are currently more than 34,000 active cases across the state. Daily cases peaked at 5496 last week – the highest number since January 14.

The number of people in hospital with the virus grew from 184 to 188 on Sunday, with eight people in intensive care and none on a ventilator.

State Government-commissioned modelling from Adelaide University released last month forecasts South Australia could record as many as 8000 daily cases in the coming days.

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) expects an infection peak will hit in mid-April in several jurisdictions.

Police commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens last week said the modelling shows South Australia could be at the “other side of the peak” by April 9 to 11.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier, in line with the advice from AHPPC, has flagged that rules requiring close contacts to quarantine may be scrapped once South Australia gets to the other side of the curve.

Indoor mask requirements are also due to end on April 14.

It comes as the rollout of a second COVID-19 booster shot for vulnerable groups begins across the country.

People aged 65 and older, Indigenous Australians aged at least 50, disability care residents and the immunocompromised are among those receiving their fourth dose from Monday.

People can have a second booster shot four months after receiving their first.

An estimated 4.7 million people will be eligible to get a fourth dose but it is expected fewer than 200,000 will meet requirements at the start of the rollout.

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