Qld has three virus deaths, 23,630 cases

Cheryl Goodenough |

Three people have died from COVID-19 in Queensland as the state records another 23,630 new virus cases – a day before dumping all domestic border controls.

Queensland suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Thursday,  bringing the total virus-related fatalities in the state to 20.

“Any death is a tragedy and to experience it during a pandemic is heartbreaking,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday.

Two of those who died were in their seventies and one in their sixties, while all three were unvaccinated.

The 23,630 new cases were recorded after 43,913 PCR tests, and included 10,182 positive rapid antigen test results, in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Friday.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said there were 589 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital on Friday, with 41 in intensive care and 15 on ventilation.

Those in intensive care had increased from 26 the previous day.

“So there’s a steady increase in the number of patients in hospitals,” Dr Gerrard said.

He said the time-frame for Queensland reaching its peak for new infections “is the question on everyone’s lips”, with modelling suggesting Queensland was about two weeks behind NSW.

“But different areas will reach their peak at different times in Queensland because we’re a more decentralised state,” Dr Gerrard said.

“The most useful things to look at will be hospitalisation rates, rather than the number of cases.”

The latest figures come with the government set to drop all domestic border controls from 1am on Saturday.

Police road border checkpoints will be dismantled and travellers will no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the state.

The government initially planned to ease those restrictions when 90 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had received two vaccine doses.

The latest figures show 91.5 per cent of the eligible population aged 16 and over have had one jab and 88.5 per cent have received two.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said 5.96 per cent of five to 11-year-olds had received their first vaccine dose in the three days since they became eligible, while a further 45,267 youngsters were booked in for appointments.

More than 50 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had their booster vaccine.

Deputy Police Commissioner and vaccine operations co-ordinator Shane Chelepy said more than 373,000 vaccinations had been carried out over the last seven days.

“But my message is really clear: We do have capacity for those people who are eligible for their booster now to walk into our Queensland Health sites and to be able to get boosted,” he said.

Ms Palaszczuk said this wave would impact vulnerable people, but vaccinated people wearing masks “should be going out and living their lives and supporting local businesses”.

International travel restrictions will remain in place until the state hits its 90 per cent vaccination target, which is expected next week.

At that time travellers who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine.