Mild Qld virus cases told to stay home
Marty Silk |
Queenslanders with mild COVID-19 symptoms are being urged to stay at home as hospitals and testing centres are overrun with more than 32,000 cases in the state.
Another 6781 new cases emerged after 29,418 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Wednesday taking the number of active cases to 32,312.
Ten people are in intensive care, including two on ventilators, while 265 virus patients are in hospital.
Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says most new cases are milder with more than 17,000 are being supported in home isolation.
He urged people to only consider going to hospital if they’re suffering breathlessness, chest pain, fainting or dizziness.
“We’ve had a lot of reports of people dialling triple zero the moment they get a diagnosis at COVID-19, even with very mild symptoms, and that really is causing a problem in many of our emergency departments, and it’s not necessary,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
People with mild symptoms, he said, regardless of whether they’ve been tested, should assume they have the virus and isolate for seven days.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said households should prepare in case someone gets COVID-19.
“Go get yourself a thermometer, make sure you’ve got some Nurofen or Panadol, those sorts of things, at home,” she said.
Testing clinics have been overrun in recent days as thousands of people line up or queue in traffic for swabs.
Ms D’Ath said staffing shortages caused by the outbreak have led to the closure of a number of private testing clinics.
A spike in positive test results has made it unfeasible for labs to quickly process samples in batches, further delaying the process.
Dr Gerrard said only people with symptoms, a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result or close household contacts should be lining up for PCR tests at the moment.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says new testing clinics will be opened in Ashgrove, Boondall, Edens Landing, Cleveland, Indooroopilly, Wilston and Bundall on Thursday and Friday mornings.
She also says 18 million RATs will start being distributed from state-run testing clinics from Thursday.
“We just need to make it very, very simple and easy, especially to our most vulnerable people at this particular point in time,” the premier told reporters.
Amid the confusion, Ms Palaszczuk said she didn’t regret opening the domestic borders ahead of the Christmas break.
“We had a national plan and the national plan was to reunite families,” she said.
“That was the national plan that every other state and territory – Western Australia’s a bit different – followed.”
Dr Gerrard said the decision to open the border in summer when most people were at home and schools were on holidays was the right one.
He also believes the current Omicron wave in Queensland will probably peak in a few week’s time.
“The question is whether there will be another wave this winter and that will be purely speculative,” Dr Gerrard said.
“We have to have this wave and we know it will generate immunity in the community.
“The general pattern that happens with pandemics over history is that you get a big wave and it gets smaller … you may get smaller waves in the future and as time goes by the virus becomes endemic.”AAP