Not just another wave, COVID hospitalisation reach record high

By Our Reporter
Representative image. Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

Hospitalisation due to COVID infections has reached record high levels across Australia Western Australia recorded its highest admissions, while Tasmania and ACT are currently double what they had in previous waves.

South Australia is just below its January peak. NSW, Victoria, and the Northern Territory have some way to go before reaching previous peaks, according to the NEMBC Multilingual News Service.

However, NSW had more than 2,000 COVID patients in hospital this week for the first time since February.

Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said most states and territories will likely reach their peak hospitalisation rates in the coming weeks.

The surge in hospitalisation has led staff to exhaustion and burnout with many trying to cope with stress.

Australia is beginning to see a new wave of COVID-19 infections driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants, which will increase the pressure on our health system.

Victorian Numbers

According to the Victorian government COVID-19 data as of 17 July, there are 63,321 active cases from PCR and rapid antigen tests, 760 cases in hospital and 34 in ICU.

Victoria has recorded 9,630 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 with 16 lives lost.

Across the state, almost 68 percent of people aged 12 years and older are now up to date with three COVID-19 vaccination doses, while over 94 percent have received two doses.

In addition, over 56 percent of children aged five to 11 years in the state have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

National Cabinet agrees on several new measures

On Saturday, 16 July, the National Cabinet met virtually to discuss the evolving situation with the COVID 19 pandemic and agreed several new measures.

The Commonwealth and all States and Territories remain committed to working together collaboratively to support the COVID-19 health response, as Australians continue to manage the impacts of this pandemic.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly provided an update on the pandemic, including new variants and their potential impact, and the impacts on hospital capacity and broader health system

In recognition of the risks associated with more infectious new variants through the winter period, the Commonwealth agreed to reinstate the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to 30 September 2022. Eligibility for the payment will be backdated to 1 July 2022, to ensure that anyone unable to work owing to isolation requirements in this period, without access to paid sick leave, is supported. Access to these payments will commence from Wednesday 20 July, with existing eligibility requirements to continue.

“We have agreed to share the costs of the payment 50:50, between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories,” a media statement from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

In addition, the Commonwealth Government will also reinstate the Crisis Payment – National Health Emergency (COVID-19) until 30 September 2022, with eligibility also to be backdated to 1 July 2022. This will ensure people affected by COVID-19 isolation requirements who receive an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance, and who are in severe financial hardship, continue to receive support through the winter period.

The Commonwealth has further agreed to create a new, temporary telehealth item so GPs can spend longer with their patients to assess their suitably for oral COVID-19 antivirals. This will enable those most vulnerable to COVID-19 to quickly access medical treatments and help ease the burden on hospitals.

State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers also shared updates from across each jurisdiction, including noting initiatives such as increasing access to supplies of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

Nurse job vacancies doubled during pandemic

Hospital and aged care operators are desperate for staff as the Omicron sub-variants send thousands of workers into isolation.

Online job advertisements for registered nurses increased from more than four-thousand (4242) in May 2019 to more than eight-thousand (8130) in May this year.

Ads seeking aged and disabled carers have also doubled, according to data collected by the National Skills Commission.

International Council of Nurses chief Howard Catton said there was already a global shortage of about six million nurses pre pandemic.

Australia is competing with other developed countries for overseas-trained health care workers that has worsened during the pandemic.

Interstate Migration

The pressures of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns has seen people move to regional areas and interstate.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows more than 180-thousand residents left Victoria for other states during the pandemic.

It’s the first time Victoria has had negative interstate entry migration since 2008.

In mid 2021 there were more than three-hundred (335) a day leaving Victoria and mostly to Queensland.

For many the repeated lockdowns and industry closures meant they couldn’t afford to live in Melbourne, while others saw an opportunity to change career or change state.

Meanwhile, Queensland has seen an increase in population of more than 80-thousand courtesy of other states.

Health Message

This winter, it’s really important to stay up to date with your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.

More travel and more socialising means that both flu as well as COVID-19 are circulating in the community.

The best way to protect your family and your community this winter, and help give your immunity a boost, is to get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 as soon as possible.

You can get your flu vaccination from your GP or pharmacist.

(With NEMBC Multilingual News Service)

The Indian Sun acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

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