HomeHealthAustralia's healthcare system hit by record number of COVID patients as Omicron...

Australia’s healthcare system hit by record number of COVID patients as Omicron ramps up


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The number of Australians admitted to hospital with COVID-19 hit a record high of around 5,450 on Monday, official data showed, as the spread of new, highly contagious Omicron sub-variants puts pressure on the health system across the country.

The figure has risen since late June as the BA.4 and BA.5 strains became dominant as they can evade immune protection, either from vaccination or previous infection, while some experts say the latter may be as infectious such as measles.

The number of people in hospitals is the highest since the appearance of the coronavirus, surpassing the January peak of 5,390 during Omicron’s first wave of infections. The daily death toll has also risen, topping 100 on Saturday for the first time.

AUSTRALIA SEES RISE IN COVID DEATHS WITH OMICRON OUTBREAK

More than 1,000 nursing homes have suffered from outbreaks, the government said, as the elderly are largely affected.

With several elderly care centers struggling with staffing shortages, defense personnel support at such facilities will be extended until the end of September, Defense Minister Richard Marles said.

A record number of COVID-19 patients required hospitalization in Australia on Monday as Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants continue to spread across Australia. Pictured: A health worker administers a COVID-19 test in Sydney, Australia, on October 5, 2021.
(Reuters/Loren Elliott)

“It is an extreme measure and it is correct to describe it as such,” he told ABC television. “Given how many outbreaks we have right now, this is the right thing to do.”

Many frontline workers in hospitals are also sick or isolated, making the health care crisis worse.

During a harsh winter with COVID-19 and the flu virus circulating, authorities recommended the use of masks indoors and urgent booster doses of the vaccine, while telling businesses to allow working from home.

NEW ZEALAND COVID DEATH RATE AT RECORD HIGH AFTER OMICRON WAVE

Australia, one of the most vaccinated countries against COVID-19, has given two doses to around 95% of those over the age of 16, although only around 71% have received booster shots.

Still, its tally of around 9.13 million infections and 11,181 deaths was lower than many developed economies.



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