Covid: When Omicron will peak in Queensland
Health authorities have revealed Queensland is “progressing towards the peak” of Omicron, with state modelling indicating the wave is “going to get worse” until at least the end of July.
Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said the BA. 4 and BA. 5 sub variances are now “well established in Queensland”, with hospitals feeling the strain of over 700 Covid-19 inpatients across the public and private sector.
“The number of public hospital Covid inpatients has risen by 140 per cent over the last month in Queensland,” he said.
“The current wave is projected based on our most recent modelling and is set to continue to get worse until the end of July or early August.”
“There will be even greater pressure on our hospitals in the coming weeks.”
Dr Gerrard said Queensland has surpassed the number of Covid patients it had during the peak of Omicron back in January.
A combination of Covid, influenza and staff shortages is creating mounting pressure on the state’s healthcare system.
There are currently over 2000 healthcare staff who have been furloughed due to Covid in the state – this number is excluding those who have been sick with influenza or are off on annual leave.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said on Wednesday there were 705 people in hospital with Covid, which is the highest number of Covid patients the state has seen.
In addition, there are 105 cases of people with the influenza.
“If people can’t get in to see a GP, then they turn to our public hospital system and that’s why we are seeing so much demand on our EDs [emergency departments] and we’re seeing increased chronic illness and more complex cases,” Ms D’Ath said.
“I saw that Dr Bruce Willett came out yesterday talking about the pressures on our GPS and he has over 30 years of experience as a GP.
“He said he has never seen this sort of pressure on our general practitioners and pressure on our GPs means pressure on our hospital system.”
More than 700,000 Queenslanders have stepped up to get their flu jab since the government announced the vaccine would be free up until July 17.
While under 40 per cent of the population has had its flu jab, just 63 per cent have had their third booster.
The health warning from government officials follows NSW health authorities making a fresh plea for residents to “go back to basics” following the detection of five new Covid variants sweeping through the state.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said she would support the national vaccine advisory group ATAGI on passing a fourth jab when she meets with them on Wednesday.
Hospitalisations are set to peak again at the end of this month and into August, prompting a fresh plea from health officials to get a booster shot.
“We predict hospitalisations will be similar to BA. 1 in January,” Dr Chant said.
Dr Chant said the virus had “changed” and the newer BA. 4 and BA. 5 variants needed three or four vaccines for protection.
“Disregard anything we’ve said about two doses. It’s three doses or more,” she said.
NSW hospitals are also under extreme pressure after the state recorded 10,504 cases and 1782 hospitalisations on Tuesday.
There are 58 patients in intensive care with Covid-related cases.
There have been 14 deaths in the last 24-hour reporting period.
Sixty-eight per cent of people in NSW have been triple vaccinated amid flu and respiratory illnesses spreading wildly throughout the state.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said figures show 56 per cent of Covid-related deaths this year involved people who have had two or fewer doses of a vaccine.
According to data from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, people who are triple vaccinated have 65 per cent greater protection against hospitalisation or death from Omicron than just two jabs.
The data comes as calls for a fourth jab grow stronger.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is considering an application from Moderna for a new booster shot which targets the B. 4 Omicron variant.
Originally published as Covid: When Omicron will peak in Queensland
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