There have been another two COVID-linked deaths in South Australia, which today reported 3,304 new infections.
- SA has 21,535 known active cases of the virus
- Two women aged in their 90s have died after testing positive for the virus
- AMA Vice President Chris Moy is warning of the combined effects of COVID and flu
The latest fatal cases were two women aged in their 90s, SA Health said.
There are 214 people in hospital with the virus, including 13 people in intensive care and one on ventilation.
The latest caseload total is about 450 more than yesterday’s figurebut coincides with a 35 per cent increase in PCR testing.
There are currently 21,535 active cases in the state.
At the same time it added the latest fatal cases to the state’s COVID death toll, SA Health also removed several cases
“Following further investigations, three previously reported COVID deaths have re-classified as died from other causes,” SA Health said.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier this week urged flu vaccination uptake ahead of what has been predicted to be the most severe flu season since the start of the pandemic.
“Particularly our youngest children — the babies — have not been exposed to any flu because we haven’t had any over the last couple of years with the borders shut,” Professor Spurrier said on Tuesday.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) vice-president Chris Moy today reinforced that messaging, saying overseas estimates suggested about “about 1 or 2 per cent of people” will catch both flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
“There’s a study that shows there’s about a doubling of the death rate on top of COVID for people who catch it at the same time,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“It’s extra reason to get the flu shot. The flu shot is the really, really key thing for us this year.
“Earlier this week, we were at about 3.2 million people who had the flu shot. Last year we’d had about 3.8 million. That’s a concern because I think there’s just a bit of vaccine fatigue out there at the moment.”
COVID’s layer-cake effect
South Australia’s flu vaccine rollout has been boosted by “hundreds of pharmacies” taking part in the national immunization program for the first time, the SA government said.
“Pharmacies offer a convenient option to many patients who want to get the vaccine in a way that best suits them,” Health Minister Chris Picton said.
According to SA Health data, there have been 371 reported influenza detections in the state so far this year.
“Pharmacies are well established in providing vaccines and continue to play a key role in protecting the public against COVID-19,” SA Health communicable disease control branch director Louise Flood said.
Dr Moy said he expected the number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases to remain between 200 and 250 over the coming months, but the impact of such a number on the state’s hospital system should not be underestimated.
“That’s basically a third of the Royal Adelaide Hospital,” he said.
Dr Moy liked the impact to a layer cake, saying COVID-19 would put extra stress on a health system simultaneously battling influenza.
“If you think about what normally happens in winter, we get full hospitals,” he said.
“We need to stop that cake, if I can put it in terms of people ending up in hospital being too high, because that’s the real worry at the moment.”
The SA government today reported a slight reduction in ramping in April compared to March, saying SA Ambulance Service figures showed a 2.9 per cent decline.