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Qld reveals record 2222 Covid-19 cases ahead of expected surge

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Education Minister Grace Grace revealed the largest number of daily cases Queensland has recorded since the pandemic began at a press conference at Brisbane on Thursday morning.She said 8586 coronavirus cases were active in the state.Ms Grace urged Queenslanders to continue to book in for vaccinations, including booster shots, and to abide by virus restrictions to help keep Covid-19 under control.Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said 10,752 cases had been recorded in Queensland since the pandemic began“It’s likely in the coming days there will be ICU admissions,” he said.He warned Queensland was facing “tens of thousands of cases” in coming weeks.Ahead of the press conference, Dr Gerrard urged Queenslanders with the virus to avoid heading to hospital emergency departments unless they were suffering severe symptoms.“As expected, cases of Covid-19 are increasing significantly and popping up right across the state,” he stated.“Most people will be relatively well and will only have mild symptoms, meaning they will be cared for at home.“We are receiving reports of people contacting triple-0 or going to an emergency department when they receive their text message because they think that’s what they should do.“I want to remind Queenslanders our emergency departments and emergency services are there for just that – emergencies. If anyone has severe symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness, they should absolutely call for an ambulance.”NED-3269 Gold Coast Download Newsletter BannerDr Gerrard advised anyone with “mild” symptoms should gather supplies or arrange deliveries for 14 days isolation, and inform members of their household to get tested and isolate as well.Anyone who is infected should “tell the people you have been in contact with recently”.“It’s important they get tested as soon as possible and quarantine,” Dr Gerrard said.He said Queensland Health workers would call to determine if hospitalisation is needed.The chief health officer encouraged anyone with the virus to keep “a symptom diary”.His advice comes after Queensland announced 1589 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, with 93 people in hospital and none in intensive care units (ICU).Dr Gerrard said broader contact tracing” was “gradually being pulled back” after changes were made to government policies on Christmas Eve, hopefully giving operators some reprieve.“In broad terms we are pulling back to isolating those who are sick, and their immediate household contacts,” he said.NED-3869-Covid-19-Exposure-Sites-QldPremier Annastacia Palaszczuk also took to social media on Wednesday, revealing travellers entering Queensland from hot spots could use a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) to satisfy border pass requirements from January 1. It came after five-day traveller testing was scrapped.RATs were next to impossible to track down on the Coast and it’s expected the struggles to secure test kits will continue.On Thursday, NSW has reported 12,226 new cases and one death. The state had 746 people in hospital with the coronavirus, 63 of which were in ICUs.Victoria revealed 5137 new cases and 13 deaths, with 395 people in hospital with the virus and 55 in ICUs.Meanwhile, health authorities have listed one new exposure site at Surfers Paradise as contract tracing efforts are gradually scaled back due to the influx of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which has overtaken Delta as the dominant strain.The “casual contact” site is Seascape Bistro on The Esplanade in the suburb between 1-2pm on Wednesday, December 22, according to Queensland Health.More to come.NED-2822-GCB-APPRapid Covid-19 tests elusive on Coast, 1589 new cases revealedDecember 29: Covid-19 rapid antigen tests are in short supply or sold out entirely on the Gold Coast as interstate travellers and concerned residents rush to self-test in the face of Omicron’s spread across the state.It comes as Queensland has recorded another 1589 new coronavirus cases, according to chief health officer Dr John Gerrard.Of the cases, none were in intensive care units (ICU) or on a ventilator, but 93 were in hospital.Dr Gerrard said 6368 cases were active in Queensland, which has had 8534 cases since the pandemic began.Earlier, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk took to social media to announce travellers entering Queensland from hot spots can use a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) to satisfy border pass requirements from January 1.NED-2822-GCB-APPDr Gerrard said the RAT was appropriate for travellers entering from New South Wales or Victoria. The new system will be “honesty” based, but Dr Gerrard warned it was a criminal offence to make a false declaration.Health Minister Yvette D’Ath also scrapped the more accurate five-day PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for new arrivals on Tuesday, effective immediately.The Bulletin phoned chemists and supermarkets across the Coast to check RAT availability on Wednesday – and found the tests were extremely hard to come by, if not impossible.NED-3869-Covid-19-Exposure-Sites-QldSeveral staff members advised supermarkets across the Coast were completely out of stock.Coles and Woolworths staff across the city – at Coolangatta, Mudgeeraba, Southport and Hope Island, for example – were quick to advise the supermarkets had sold out.Some workers seemed flustered by a barrage of calls on Wednesday morning regarding RAT availability.Chemist Warehouse, Chempro and Priceline stores across the Coast were also called and advised they had sold out or had no stock.One chemist pointed the finger at the major supermarkets, claiming they had bought up all available RAT stock.Wooworths stated online that “due to high demand” its supermarkets were “running low on stock for Covid-19 self-test kits”.Customers were directed to the website of Woolworths “partner” Healthylife.Coles listed RATs as “temporarily unavailable” online.A Coles spokesperson said: “We continue to see growing customer demand for the Hough Covid-19 home test and are regularly replenishing stocks for our stores.”“To help manage demand, we have had a two-pack purchase limit in place since we began stocking the tests in early November,” they said.A Woolworths spokesperson said: “We’ve been sending tens of thousands of rapid antigen testing kits to our stores each day, but they’re selling through very quickly with the recent surge in demand.”“We have a much larger order of stock on the way from our suppliers and expect the availability of kits to improve for our customers within the next week,” they said.“We understand it’s frustrating when our customers can’t get the products they need and we’ll continue to do all we can to meet the growing demand.”Woolworths has been selling RATs behind customer service desks in Queensland and customers are limited to purchasing a maximum of 10 kits.It’s understood governments have been snapping up RATs sourced internationally alongside retailers.NED-3269 Gold Coast Download Newsletter BannerMeanwhile, PCR testing sites on the Coast have been swamped, but demand has eased.Long lines have been moving fairly quickly at some locations, including the Bond University Drive Thru Covid testing site on Ring Rd at Robina.It’s estimated there was an hour wait for testing late on Wednesday morning.The deluge of new cases came as 90.49 per cent of eligible Queensland residents aged 16 years and over had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 86.14 per cent were double-dosed.Found a rapid antigen test on the Gold Coast? Email luke.mortimer1@news.com.au or melanie.whiting@news.com.auTwitter follow Melanie Whiting



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