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Hospitalisations steady as daily COVID case numbers rise

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The number of South Australians in hospital with COVID has remained steady at 245 while the daily caseload has risen to 3829 new infections today.

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SA Health has also reported three more deaths of people with COVID – a man and two women in their 80s, bringing the total number of deaths in SA to 301.

Yesterday, the number of reported cases in hospital jumped to 245 – the highest number of the current wave and an increase from 225 the day before.

According to SA Health’s daily update, the number of hospitalisations remained at 245 today, with 11 people in intensive care, including two people on ventilators.

There are currently 29,079 active cases in South Australia.

SA Health said of those hospitalised, 163 people were fully vaccinated, 76 people were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, and six had an unknown vaccination status.

Today’s 3829 new infections is a rise on yesterday’s 3560 cases, which was a jump from 2675 the day before, although it’s well below the recent high of more than 6000 daily cases.

SA Health reported that yesterday 10,350 people received a PCR test in South Australia, a 10.4 per cent increase on the previous 24 hours.

Of the test results returned yesterday, 2302 PCR tests were positive, while 1527 positive rapid antigen test results were reported.

The impact of lifting mask restrictions on Good Friday is expected to be known in coming days.

Masks are still required in high-risk settings including hospitals and on public transport, while a decision is yet to be made on whether they will be required in schools when the new term resumes in two weeks.

SA Health’s online COVID dashboard said there were 261 patients in hospital yesterday, including 13 in ICU, but an SA Health spokesperson told InDaily the figures were wrong and said the mistake was due to a “manual error” in the entering of data.

The spokesperson said the number of 245 people in hospital reported by SA Health in its daily press release yesterday was the correct figure.

Health Minister Chris Picton this morning said the rate of hospitalisations had been “a concern for a number of months”.

“We know that hospitalisations tend to lag… behind the infections because obviously people take some time to get to the point of requiring hospitalisation,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“That is putting pressure on the system for sure, that’s why we’ve been doing a lot of work to try to open additional beds to decant some of our most acute beds in hospitals to be able to manage people who have COVID who need that severe acute assistance from the health system.”

Picton said yesterday’s figure of 245 people in hospital was below projections because it included people in hospital with COVID but not specifically for the disease.

“The number of people who are in there specifically for COVID we’ll be getting an update of that this morning but I understand that’s still under where the original modelling put us but that’s still putting additional pressure on the system and we are working hard to make sure that we open every additional bed at the moment,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Premier this morning visited Adelaide Airport to thank workers, including baggage handlers, for their efforts during the busy long weekend, as air travel continues to increase.

“I’ve come down to the airport this morning just to thank all those people who work behind the scenes to get people around our amazing country,” Peter Malinauskas said in a video posted to Twitter.

“This weekend everyone would have seen the airports around the nation have been under the pump yet here in South Australia it’s performed pretty well.”

This afternoon Malinauskas joined Adelaide Football Club officials to announce 2000 free two-game memberships to upcoming Crows clashes for “frontline heroes” who have “served our state so exceedingly well throughout the course of the pandemic”.

Public sector workers including nurses, doctors, paramedics, police officers, human services frontline workers and teachers will have the opportunity to access the tickets through a ballot, which opens today and runs until April 24.

Malinauskas predicted that COVID case numbers would rise on Wednesday and Thursday following a drop in testing over the Easter weekend.

“So far the case numbers seem to be in line with expectations but I’m very conscious of the fact that testing numbers were down over the Easter weekend which was foreseeable,” he said.

“We’ll be paying a very close attention to what occurs in that area over the course of the remainder of the week.”

He said hospitalisations had “largely been stable for a sustained period now”, however “the hospital system is under an extraordinary amount of pressure”.

The Premier did not have a breakdown of numbers of people in hospital because of their COVID infection and those in hospital for other reasons but who also happened to be COVID-positive.

A Government spokesperson later told InDaily that of the 245 people in hospital yesterday, 46 had the virus but were in hospital for reasons other than COVID.

Malinauskas said the issue of masks in schools would be discussed at next Tuesday’s emergency management council meeting and noted that currently they were still required in classrooms interstate.

“If there is the ability for us to relinquish the requirement of young children in particular having to wear masks I would love to do that but we’ll only be doing that if it’s the safe thing to do,” he said.

“If case numbers go down and school returns and we make decisions around masks that are premature it could result in case numbers going up in a way that we don’t necessarily want so it’s about getting that balance right.”

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