Qld reports 9 virus deaths, 16,812 cases

Nick Gibbs and Marty Silk |

An 18-year-old is among nine COVID-19 related deaths reported in Queensland as the state records another 16,812 virus cases.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said the teenager had “significant underlying medical problems”, and his thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died.

The deaths reported on Thursday also include one person in their 70s, five in their 80s, one in their 90s and one over 100.

One had received their booster vaccine, five were double jabbed and three were unvaccinated.

A total of 850 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19 in Queensland, including 48 in ICU.

“The peak of the pandemic will be approaching sometime in the next two to three weeks, towards the end of the month,” Dr Gerrard said.

The state currently has more than 91,000 active COVID-19 cases and just under 89 per cent of eligible residents aged over 16 have had two vaccine doses.

The new cases come as the state prepares to open its Wellcamp quarantine facility next month, after removing restrictions on vaccinated international arrivals.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said 500 available beds would be split into two pods, one of which would house unvaccinated travellers who needed to quarantine.

The other will be used for those who can’t isolate at home, such as people who live with vulnerable family members.

The state government has a 12 month lease for the Wellcamp facility at Toowoomba, with an option to extend for another year.

“That gives you a sense that even two years in, we continue to expect quarantine and isolation to be public health tools that we are advised to utilise,” Mr Miles said.

But the state opposition says the deal done with construction firm Wagner Corporation is light on detail.

“The deputy premier keeps saying it’s a cracking deal but he just doesn’t want to tell us what the cracking deal is,” Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said on Thursday.

“It’d be like turning up at an open home and the real estate agent says, we’ve got an amazing pool in the backyard, you can’t see it, but it’s an amazing pool.”

Fire and emergency services assistant commissioner Joanne Greenfield has been appointed as the state’s new quarantine commissioner to oversee the process.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s health minister believes governments are “moving closer” to mandating a third jab.

Yvette D’Ath said she was particularly concerned only one in three aged care residents have had a booster, and most of those who have died in the current wave were either unvaccinated or twice-vaccinated.

“So I hope enough of the community, especially with what we know now about boosters, what we know about Omicron, has the sense to come forward and get vaccinated without it being mandated,” Ms D’Ath told ABC Radio on Thursday.

There is potential for a third dose to be required under an updated definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated, but the decision should be made at a national level, Ms D’Ath said. 

More than 100 aged care facilities in Queensland are dealing with outbreaks with the minister calling on the federal government to step in.