The number of people in hospital in South Australia with COVID-19 has surged to record levels as the new Omicron variants continue to take hold across the state.
SA Health on Monday said 306 people were in hospital with the virus, an increase of more than 70 since Thursday last week, and the first time the number has gone above 300.
The increase also came as the state braced for an expected peak in the current wave of infections this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
Recent modelling suggested daily case numbers would peak as high as 6000 during the current wave, though officials conceded there was some uncertainty with the numbers.
SA Health reported 4053 new virus cases on Monday, with more than 65 per cent being the new BA-4 and BA-5 strains.
The state’s Emergency Management Council is due to meet on Tuesday, but is unlikely to impose any increased restrictions such as widespread mask mandates.
“We do though absolutely recommend that people should wear masks and we have been messaging that very clearly,” Health Minister Chris Picton told ABC radio.
“We’re calling on South Australians to do the right thing.”
Also on Monday, the government rolled out a new service to help keep young children with respiratory illnesses out of hospital.
Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital will provide an at-home service for a range of conditions.
“This is yet another way we can reduce pressure on our hospitals during winter,” Mr Picton said.
“We’re now ramping that service up to provide care for more kids in our community.”
Mr Picton said the government had further committed an extra $6 million to hire 10 more clinicians for its virtual care service for children.