News Coronavirus ‘Hundreds of thousands’ of cases for Qld
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‘Hundreds of thousands’ of cases for Qld

Queensland COVID-19
Queensland has recorded 5699 new COVID-19 cases in the latest reporting period. Photo: AAP
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Queensland’s COVID-19 testing capacity is already under pressure with “hundreds of thousands” of new cases expected this month and testing requirements for interstate travellers from hotspots under review “every day”.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says 5699 cases emerged after 33,312 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30 am on Tuesday.

There are 11 people in ICU — up from 10 on Monday — two patients are on ventilation with another 170 in hospital.

Dr Gerrard said cases are steadily rising with 23 per cent of Pathology Queensland’s tests being positive on Monday, however most people are being protected by vaccines.

“So the disease that we are seeing at the moment bears no resemblance to the disease that was being reported last year both in Australia and overseas because of vaccination, largely because of vaccination,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

The CHO said there were 25,924 active cases in Queensland and that number will steadily grow through January into early February.

“The numbers of cases we are expected to see through January will be very high. Certainly in the hundreds of thousands, if not more, in Queensland, very high,” Dr Gerrard said.

As cases rise, testing capacity is being stretched in Queensland after a number of private providers did not open as planned on Tuesday.

There closures of multiple clinics led to Queensland Health centres being flooded with people seeking tests and long traffic jams across the southeast.

“I understand they’re getting tested now can be very difficult and my heart goes out to those who have had had to wait for long, long periods of time in queues or missed out,” Dr Gerrard said.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said some QML sites did not open due to staffing shortages, while Sullivan Nicolaides had redirected staff at some centres to test in aged care facilities on behalf of the Commonwealth.

She said it was difficult to fill the gap left by private providers as it would lead to Queensland Health staff being taken off the front line.

“Every person I pull out of a hospital to run a testing or vaccination clinic puts pressure on our hospital system,” Ms D’Ath said.

Dr Gerrard said anyone with cold or flu symptoms, who is not “unduly sick”, should stay home and monitor their symptoms.

He said vaccinated people should recover within a few days, but anyone short of breath, suffering chest pain or fever, feeling faint or fainting should seek medical treatment.

“As tests become more available, hopefully more rapid antigen tests will become available, then you should we should be able to get access to them,” the CHO said.

“But for the moment that (staying home) is not an unreasonable (request) that’s exactly precisely what I am saying.”

The government had planned to scrap pre-travel testing requirements for visitors from interstate hotspots and quarantine for international arrivals once 90 per cent of eligible Queenslands are vaccinated.

However, when asked if the roadmap could change cases continuing to climb in Queensland, Dr Gerrard said that plan was constantly being reviewed.

“We’re looking at all of these things every day, I even spoke to (NSW CHO Kerry Chant) about this very issue last night,” he said.

“So we’re discussing these issues every day.”

– AAP