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COVID-19 cases rise to 1723, voting and school concerns addressed • Glam Adelaide

Premier Steven Marshall and Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier and Education Minister John Garnder addressed the South Australian public this morning with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation in SA.

In the 24 hours to midnight last night, there has been an increase in cases, with 1,723 COVID-19 cases confirmed in SA. Sadly, there has been one death reported in the past 24 hours.

Out of the reported cases, 1317 were confirmed via PCR tests, and 406 were confirmed via the rapid antigen tests (RATs).

Marshall said yesterday’s reduced cases were a result of the hot and extreme weather SA has seen, which has delayed testing results.

The CHO said she met with Indigenous leaders in Port Augusta to discuss the rising cases in Aboriginal communities and a culturally appropriate vaccination rollout program.

“It’s an evolving situation we are very concerned about it from a health perspective,” Spurrier said. She continued that SA Health are using everything from vaccinations to quality isolation and quarantine facilities that are rising culturally appropriate to support the cases in communities.

Numbers have continued to drop in hospitalization and intensive care, which Marshall stated indicated that SA is past the peak of the Omicron wave. Hospitalisations have decreased to 233 with 21 people in ICU and five on ventilators.

Moving, the Premier continued to state that South Australia does not want to see a second wave and that this is no time for complacency.

“It does remind every South Australian to not be complacent – ​​if they are going into a higher risk QR checking in, or getting that PCR test if they have symptoms,” Marshall said.

SA’s PCR testing capability and capacity continue to remain high, with no reported lag in testing times and results. The relevant health advice remains for those displaying symptoms to undertake one of the highly-accurate tests. In the last 24 hours, 10,079 tests were administered, with further details of the PCR to RAT ratio to be announced later today.

A total of 1,450 schools have had RATs delivered, with a further 50 to receive theirs soon. Marshall said that the staggering return to school, which begins today, will see a reduction in positive infections. Further, it was stated that the modeling indicates that online learning would not be extended past the current plan.

“It’s a massive improvement, and we’d love to see that number come down in South Australia,” Marshall said.

Marshall said that restrictions will continue to be eased when it is safe to do so, including home gatherings, standing and drinking and density limits. Masks will continue to remain in place for the forseeable future, with Marshall saying that they should be worn in supermarkets and similar locations as well as the office, due to the air-borne nature of the virus.

State election voting concerns:

Touching on the fast-approaching state election, those who have deemed a close contact or test positive to COVID-19 will not be able to vote due to the restrictions surrounding home isolation. Marshall said that the state government tried to amend this issue in parliament, but the amendment was not passed.

“We will sit down with the electoral commissioner to address this issue – will be up to the electoral commissioner to see what he thinks is acceptable. We will work through options,” Marshall said.

Spurrier said that her team and SA Health are working closely with the electoral commission to amend the issue as well, noting that the use of postal votes will increase this year.

“We are looking at some ways for close contacts to be able to vote safely,” Spurrier said.

Spurrier said that SA Health will continue to focus on the issue from a health perspective and ensure that it does not interfere with voting and results.

Year 7’s move to secondary school:

Thousands of Year 7 students across South Australia will start to experience the benefits of learning from subject specialist teachers in specialist facilities as school officially returns for 2022.

Around 13,000 Year 7 students will attend a public high school today, with the year level successfully making the state-wide transition from primary school.

Minister for Education John Gardner said while the start of the 2022 school year will be like no other due to the disruption caused by the global spread of Omicron, there is still plenty to celebrate.

“Our Year 7s are ready for the independence, responsibility and learning opportunities that come from being in a high school environment, which will put them on the pathway to gain the skills and knowledge they need to secure the jobs of the future right here in South Australia.

“The national curriculum is designed for Year 7 students to be taught by specialist teachers, in specialist facilities and I am thrilled that we have reached this significant milestone today.

“This is such an important time for our Year 7s and Year 8s who are making a big transition and attending high school for the first time.”

Emergency declaration continues:

Heavy rainfall has continued to hit the Far North of the state, with Port Augusta and the APY Lands seeing a deluge drop and storm lash the regional communities. Coober Peedy remains isolated from the rest of SA due to the damage sustained to the road network, with 20 tons of emergency supplies flown into the isolated community. At the time of writing, Marshall stated that they do not believe there is reason yet to evacuate Coober Peedy.

Marshall stated that the advice from the SES Chief Officer Chris Beattie remains that this weather event is a dangerous situation, and to remain safe and reconsider all non-essential travel. Marshall said there were deteriorating conditions, but the state coordinators, SES and emergency services are doing everything to re-establish roads during the extraordinary weather event and rainfall.

Marshall continued to drive home the message to abide by SES and SAPOL directions.

You may not always receive a call, SMS or email from SA Health.

You must follow the relevant health advice even if you have not been contacted.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

For more information on health advice and requirements for households, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.

Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting




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