News State SA News South Australia set for spike in virus hospitalisations

South Australia set for spike in virus hospitalisations

Adelaide Hospital
SA is bracing for a surge in COVID admissions. Photo: AAP
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Coronavirus hospitalisations in South Australia could climb to more than 400 amid the current wave of new infections, the latest modelling has shown.

The number of people in hospital with the virus hit a record 306 on Monday, but dropped back to 282 on Tuesday.

However, Health Minister Chris Picton said the latest data suggested that once the wave of new infections hit its peak in the next week or so, hospital admissions would rise again.

“That modelling projects there could be in excess of 400 hospitalisations within the next couple of weeks,” the minister said.

“That clearly points to the pressure on our health system, the pressure to find available capacity.

“We estimate that we need to find an additional 40 beds.”

Mr Picton said the latest meeting of the state’s Emergency Management Council had resolved to delay some non-urgent election surgery and move other procedures to private hospitals, though there would be no widespread cancellations.

Other steps to free up beds will include discharging people to other appropriate care, and investigating any other capacity in the private sector.

The meeting also resolved to provide free rapid antigen tests to concession-card holders once the federal government scheme finishes at the end of July.

The supply from the state will continue until the end of September.

There has been no move for the return of widespread mask mandates, but school students will be encouraged to wear masks when classes resume next week.

SA reported 4172 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of active infections to 29,845.

Based on the latest genome sampling, more than 65 per cent of SA’s cases are now the new BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants.