While the term ‘post-COVID’ creeps into daily use as formerly onerous restrictions are eased or removed altogether, the pandemic continues to take an horrific toll on Australia’s elderly.
So far this year, in less than four months, there have been more COVID-19 deaths in residential aged care than the first two years of the pandemic combined.
Data from the federal health department released this week showed 1088 people in residential aged care have died so far in 2022.
There were a total of 918 deaths in the centres as of December 31, 2021.
Some 28,028 people have contracted COVID-19 in Australian residential aged care centres since the pandemic started.
The federal health department has been contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, NSW has shared 100,000 rapid antigen tests from its state stockpile with Tonga after a request from the island nation.
Linens have also been provided by the government after 115 hospital beds were donated by Sydney hospitals.
“These resources will take the pressure off the people of Tonga, who are fighting the pandemic while working tirelessly to rebuild after the devastation caused by the tsunami,” Treasurer Matt Kean said.
South Australia eases up
South Australians are beginning the Easter long weekend with eased COVID-19 restrictions from Friday.
Masks are now only required on passenger transport, planes, indoors at airports, hospitals and community healthcare, residential aged care, disability care facilities and correctional service facilities.
QR check-ins are also only required in hospitals and aged care facilities.
It comes as another 54,094 cases were reported across the country on Thursday.
Another 45 people died, bringing the national death toll since the pandemic started to 6693.
On Friday, 26 deaths were recorded in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, with more than 34,000 new cases across the four states.
About 97 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have had at least one vaccine dose, while 95.3 per cent are double-vaccinated.
– with AAP
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
- Victoria: 9664 cases, 7 deaths, 374 in hospital, 14 in ICU
- NSW: 15,367 cases, 16 deaths, 1485 in hospital, 69 in ICU
- Tasmania: 1489 cases, 1 death, 55 in hospital, 1 in ICU
- Queensland: 7673 cases, 2 deaths, 574 in hospital, 21 in ICU
- Northern Territory: 448 cases, 29 in hospital, two in ICU