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Six people in hospital as Covid cases soar in Cairns



The new cases are among 3118 announced across Queensland.It follows 54 new cases for Cairns on Thursday, which was more than double Wednesday’s figure of 25.There are currently six inpatients in Cairns Hospital but none are in the intensive care unit. One of the patients was transferred from Thursday Island and is in a stable condition. Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Tina Chinery said the majority of the people being seen in the hospital were unvaccinated. Graph: Cairns Covid case numbers“I think there is plenty of evidence not just in Queensland, nationally and worldwide, that the majority of people we are seeing in hospital are unvaccinated,” she said. In the wake of the soaring case numbers, Cairns Hospital has introduced a no-visitor policy in its emergency department and has temporarily paused non urgent elective work.Ms Chinery said it was to make room for the Covid ward. “We have activated our Covid ward in the hospital now. What that means is we have had to pause temporarily non-urgent elective work so that we could reorientate our staff and our services to be prepared if we see an increase in numbers in the hospital,” she said. Health authorities confirmed majority of the cases are coming back as the Omicron variant. But Ms Chinery said it was important not to assume you would get Omicron. “At this stage we don’t have the break down of Omicron versus the Delta,” she said. “That’s why I think its very important for people not to assume they will always be okay and to get vaccinated.” Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard has also urged Queenslanders to avoid New Year’s Eve celebrations if they feel at all unwell. “If you have any respiratory symptoms there is a good chance it’s going to be Covid,” he said.Queensland Health data shows more than a dozen of the new Cairns cases are attributed to the Douglas Shire area, while the majority are from the Cairns Regional Council area.Tablelands and Mareeba areas are also represented in the new cases.Infection sources for the new cases remain mostly under investigation. FULL LIST OF FNQ EXPOSURE SITESThe Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has confirmed there is also a second case of Covid in Weipa.New exposure sites, including a Qantas flight, a service station and a supermarket, have been released in relation to the Weipa case. It comes as two Cape York mayors called for the Torres Strait to be locked down in the wake of a dozen cases on Thursday Island. Hundreds of people remain in quarantine in the Cairns and Hinterland region, despite the rules for close contacts and isolation changing.Queensland Health data shows that 316 people have active quarantine notices in the region as of December 31 despite changes to close-contact rules overnight.More than 14,800 quarantine notices have been issued in Cairns since the start of the pandemic. To combat the rise in cases the Cairns Convention Centre vax hub will open on the public holiday, January 3 from 8am to 3pm. Where to get tested FNQ

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