No mask mandate in SA as virus cases rise

Tim DorninAAP
People should consider wearing masks in indoor crowded places, Professor Nicola Spurrier says.
Camera IconPeople should consider wearing masks in indoor crowded places, Professor Nicola Spurrier says. Credit: AAP

South Australians are being urged to wear masks more often to help combat a looming spike in COVID-19 cases, which is expected to put more pressure on the state's already-stretched hospital system.

But there will be no widespread mandates despite updated modelling confirming case numbers are likely to top 5000 a day within the next few weeks after the recent arrival of the latest Omicron strains.

The modelling also predicts a rise in hospital admissions.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said people should consider wearing masks in indoor crowded places, including supermarkets and shopping centres.

"As people know, the wave comes through and then it reduces again, but there's a lot that we can do as South Australians to reduce the height of that curve," Professor Spurrier said.

"So it is within our own personal power to do something about it.

"I want people to think about getting the masks out of their back pocket or their handbags and start putting it back on their face again."

Prof Spurrier said she hoped mask-wearing would become more "normalised" across the community given the likelihood of more COVID-19 waves.

But she said the community had moved on from widespread restrictions, including mask mandates and lockdowns.

Health Minister Chris Picton said with the looming spike in virus cases, the hospital system was facing a difficult situation.

"We are now refocusing our efforts to try to find any additional capacity that we can open in the health system based on clearly this modelling showing increasing numbers of cases," he said.

On Tuesday, SA Health today reported 3141 new COVID-19 cases, up from the 2559 infections on Monday.

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