Qld reports 15,122 new cases, seven deaths, school date changes as Omicron wave builds towards crescendo
Queensland has reported its deadliest day of the pandemic so far with seven more Covid deaths, meaning the state’s fatality count has lifted more than five-fold in a fortnight.
All seven deaths reported on Monday were elderly people without their booster shots – two people being in their 80s and five in their 90s.
Two of these people were unvaccinated, with five of the deaths being in aged care.
The state’s death toll has now risen to 36, having been steady at seven deaths for eight months until January 5, when case numbers began accelerating following the reopening of borders.
The Sunshine State recorded another 15,122 infections on Monday.
Education Minister Grace Grace also flagged Queensland would not need to extend the school year in December despite the surging Omicron caseload delaying back-to-school dates.
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“I am satisfied that the full curriculum can now be delivered to the condensed semester that’s over the next two terms,” she said, adding that the school year will now end on December 9 instead of December 16.
Monday’s cases were down on the 17,445 people who tested positive in the 24 hours to 7pm on Saturday, while Queensland’s total coronavirus caseload is now at a significantly reduced 86,953 people as a result of new reporting measures.
There are, however, 702 people requiring care in Queensland hospitals – up from 670 at the weekend – with the 49 people in ICU remaining steady.
There are currently 15 ICU patients currently on ventilators, one less than the weekend’s tally.
Chief Health officer Dr John Gerrard reiterated that people were nine times more likely to end up in hospital if they were unvaccinated, and 24 times more likely to end up in intensive care than someone who was triple vaccinated.
He also blasted those suggesting that Covid vaccines are unsafe for children.
“That‘s appalling. It’s utterly appalling,” Dr Gerrard said.
“The vaccine I think, at last count, there was at least a million children (in) the US that had already received this vaccine. Very large numbers of children in the US have received the vaccine and there’s no safety data signal at all on its use in children.”
Three new Queensland deaths were reported on Sunday – all people with underlying health conditions – something Dr Gerrard said was a common factor among the people who had died from the virus in Queensland.
He noted on Monday that there had been a number of aged care deaths.
The jump in fatalities follows the opening of state’s borders to travellers from hotspot regions, which itself coincided with the arrival and spread of the highly contagious Omicron strain.
That said, the state’s death count is dwarfed by the number of fatalities recorded in NSW and Victoria over the past two years, and represents about one per cent of Australia’s total deaths.
Queensland scrapped its domestic border restrictions on Saturday and is edging closer to the 90 per cent double vaccination mark that it said would trigger the green light for vaccinated international arrivals.
Dr Gerrard on Sunday said Queensland Health has had 2643 hospital staff who have tested positive for Covid and 2835 public health staff in quarantine.
He remains confident that private and public hospitals will absorb the increasing caseload as the peak of the Omicron wave approaches in the coming weeks.
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