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Hospitalisations rise as COVID testing drops

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The number of COVID-positive patients in South Australian hospitals has risen as daily case numbers settle down amid a drop in testing, with the state today recording 4281 new infections.

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Fourteen more hospital patients have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, with SA Health reporting 236 infectious patients – up from 222 the day before.

There are now 13 people in intensive care and two on a ventilator, among the 38,031 total active cases in the state.

South Australia today reported 4281 new infections, which is a slight increase from the 4222 reported yesterday, despite PCR testing dropping by 6.9 per cent over the 24 hours.

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier told reporters yesterday that it was expected that COVID-19 cases would spike over winter.

She said it was strongly recommended that people aged over 65 have a fourth “winter shot” of the COVID-19 vaccine, following the release of new data showing the reduced likelihood of death among those who are fully vaccinated.

“If you’ve had three doses and you’re fully vaccinated you have a very low chance of dying – it’s 50 per 100,000 approximately when we look at our data in South Australia,” she said.

“However, people that only have one vaccine or two doses of COVID vaccine have twice the likelihood of dying compared to people that have had three doses.

“If you’ve had no doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, then there’s three times higher chance of dying if you catch COVID.

“That’s quite striking, those differences”.

The government is encouraging those aged over 65 who have waited four months since receiving their third booster shot to get a fourth vaccine.

People in that age group are also able to receive a flu jab at five metropolitan COVID-19 vaccination clinics including Elizabeth, Noarlunga, North Adelaide, Wayville and Kilkenny.

Spurrier said it was safe for people to get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccination.

“It is indeed safe to have both of those vaccines at the same time,” she said.

“With the opening of the international borders our expectation is we will start to see flu.

“This is the time to get yourself in and get yourself vaccinated to prevent yourself having flu.”

Just over 95 per cent of eligible South Australians aged over 12 have received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, while 93.1 per cent have received their second dose.

South Australia’s indoor mask mandates are still scheduled to be dropped for the Easter long weekend, with the Emergency Management Council to meet tomorrow to discuss the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

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