New testing requirements loom for close contact as SA registers 3,493 more cases

Close contacts of COVID cases in South Australia may be tested using rapid antigen kits in the coming days to ease long queues at PCR testing stations, Prime Minister Steven Marshall announced while the state has recorded 3,493 more cases today.

In what Marshall described as a “slight increase” in both cases and hospitalizations, 125 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 12 in intensive care – the same number as yesterday.

One of them stays on a fan.

As New South Wales and Victoria continued to see huge increases in COVID cases, Marshall said the SA was not yet seeing “the rapid increase that we have seen in some other jurisdictions,” insisting that the demand for hospitals was “well within our current capacity”.

Despite the closure of several Clinpath sites yesterday, the state saw 21,097 PCR tests administered yesterday, but Marshall said an imminent change in close contact requirements for confirmed cases would further ease the soaring queues. .

“Over the next week we will probably switch to RAT [rapid antigen tests] for close contacts, ”he said.

“We are [currently] ask close contacts to have PCR tests – we will move to a RAT test to preserve PCR tests for those who are symptomatic.

“It will only be for close contacts, not for the general population which is symptomatic. “

Marshall said the government would provide advice “within the next 48 to 72 hours” on how the new requirement would work.

“They are likely to be collected. People will let SA Health know, go online, notify they are close contact, we will give them a RAT, ”he said.

The Prime Minister was pleased that SA saw a sharp increase – of around 20,000 – in the number of people vaccinated yesterday, revealing that half of those currently in intensive care with COVID were “unvaccinated”.

“This is a massive and massive overrepresentation of the general population,” he said.

“It’s proof that we all need immunization to be absolutely essential.”

As of Monday, 88% of South Australians over the age of 12 were fully immunized, while 92.6% had received at least one dose, according to data from SA Health.

It comes as states across the country continue to publish daily case records, with New South Wales today reporting 35,054 more infections and eight deaths.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus in New South Wales rose to 1,491 from 1,344 on Tuesday, while the number of people in intensive care rose to 119 from 105.

Victoria, meanwhile, recorded 17,636 new cases of COVID-19 overnight and 11 deaths.

The state has 591 people hospitalized with the virus and 20 on ventilators.

Yesterday, nearly one in three of Victoria’s 59,682 tests returned positive, and there are currently more than 51,000 active cases in the state.

Queensland reported another record 6,781 cases today with 265 in hospital and 10 in intensive care, while Tasmania has reported 867 cases and ACT 810.

Meanwhile, the national cabinet is expected to discuss a plan this afternoon to subsidize rapid antigen testing for low-income people amid continued pressure on South Australia’s PCR testing sites.

The plan – which is presented to the National Cabinet by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which has received significant criticism from industry and medical groups over insufficient access to RATs – will see beneficiaries of the RAT. welfare and retirees receive cash payments for up to five rapid tests, or more if states also put money on the table.

They would have to meet the eligibility criteria to be eligible for the grant.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could also announce today that the government will provide millions of free RAT kits for distribution to testing centers across states and territories.

SA Health’s morning update on wait times at SA Pathology testing sites showed Victoria Park still saw queues of eight hours for unreserved patients and three to four hours for non-booked patients. reserved patients.

The state’s leading drive-thru testing clinic reported wait times of up to 10 hours on Tuesday.

Hampstead (four hours), Aldinga (three to four hours) and Royal Adelaide Hospital (two to three hours) also continue to report long lines for testing today, although the pressure appears to have

Marshall vowed yesterday that the SA pathology sites “will take over” after the closure of four testing sites at the private Clinpath pathology lab on Tuesday.

A shipment of 250,000 rapid antigen tests also arrived in South Australia on Tuesday, Marshall said, for use in vulnerable settings across the state.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said today that the first delivery of five million rapid tests ordered by the NSW government is expected to arrive next week.

“There isn’t a dollar figure that we won’t put on the table to ensure, as we move forward into this next phase, that rapid antigen testing is available to anyone statewide who has it. needs, ”Perrottet said today.

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the first shipment of the 34 million rapid antigen tests ordered by Victoria is also expected to arrive next week.

He also reported the launch of a website where people can upload their RAT results and be officially counted in the Victorian daily numbers once the supply is reliable.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese today backed calls for the Morrison government to make RTWs free.

“It is very clear that the easiest way to do this is to make the tests free and make them available,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“People are crying out for action, the economic consequences of this government’s failure to put in place an appropriate system are there for everyone. “

-With PAA

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