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Child among 15 SA COVID-related deaths in two days

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A “previously well” child aged under three is one of 15 South Australians who have died over the past two days after testing positive for COVID-19, as case numbers again approach 3000 a day.

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SA Health said in a statement this afternoon that the cause of the child’s death is currently being investigated following a referral to the state coroner.

It is the third instance of a child under the age of five passing away with COVID-19 in South Australia.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier emphasised that the death of a child with COVID-19 was a “rare occurrence”.

“It is very rare, but unfortunately this is a nasty virus,” she told reporters a short time ago.

“We can’t tell you what the exact cause of death is because this is a case that has been referred to the Coroner.

“It is very tragic to have to report this to South Australians today, and absolutely my deepest sympathies to this child’s family.”

Asked whether the child had any pre-existing conditions, Spurrier said she could only say the child had been “previously well” and had experienced some “mild respiratory symptoms”.

She highlighted that 89,098 children under the age of 11 have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Australia since November 23.

“So it is a very very rare thing to happen and we do need to see that in that context,” she said.

“I know that parents who have heard this news will be pretty worried and will be concerned that something may happen to their young child if they catch COVID.

“The best thing families can do, because we’re not vaccinating that age group, is to make sure everybody else in the family is vaccinated.”

SA Health also today reported the deaths of a woman in her 90s, a man in his 70s, two men in their 80s and one man in his 90s over the past 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19.

Nine COVID deaths were reported on Wednesday, including three women aged in their 60s, 80s and over 100 and six men aged in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

All up, 491 people with COVID-19 have died in SA since the pandemic began.

The number of new daily infections is once again edging closer to 3000, with 2983 cases reported today – up from 2429 yesterday.

Graph: SA HealthThere are currently 15,960 active cases in SA. Spurrier said authorities are still “watching those numbers quite closely”.

The number of COVID-positive hospital patients, meanwhile, has dropped from 246 yesterday to 222 today.

Of those, eight are in intensive care and 138 have received three or more vaccine doses.

Spurrier said there were 10 children under the age of nine in hospital with COVID-19.

“So given the large number of cases in our state, we’ve only got that small number of children that actually need to be hospitalised,” she said.

“But it is a nasty virus and we shouldn’t underestimate it which is why we will keep saying vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.”

The latest genome sampling found 98.2 per cent of samples taken were the BA.2 Omicron variant.

SA Health said that yesterday 9084 people received a PCR test in South Australia – a 39.2 per cent increase on the previous 24 hours.

“Of the test results returned yesterday, 1,614 PCR tests were positive, while 1,369 positive Rapid Antigen Test results were reported,” it said.

Just under 96 per cent of eligible South Australians aged 12 and over had received their first dose of the vaccine and 93.9 per cent had received their second dose.

Booster shots have been administered to 72.8 per cent of eligible South Australians and 68.1 per cent of South Australians aged 16 and over.

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