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2298 new SA cases, hospitalisations double in two days

South Australia has recorded 2298 more COVID-19 cases with 82 people now in hospital with the virus – more than double the number two days ago.

More than 14,000 people have now contracted the virus since the Marshall Government opened SA borders on November 23.

Seven people are now in intensive care units.

Today’s case numbers are nearly 200 higher than yesterday’s, which included 206 children, while there were 40 COVID patients in hospital on New Year’s Eve.

Premier Steven Marshall said today that a small cluster in the Indigenous community of Port Augusta is not quite as severe as first thought.

There are three close cases and 32 to 35 close contacts of a person who was working in the sobering up unit. All have returned negative rapid antigen tests.

“It looks like we have dodged a bullet with a very vulnerable community in Port Augusta,” he said on Sunday.

“It was (a situation) at yesterday’s COVID-ready committee meeting we were very concerned about.”

It’s not the same situation in the state’s prisons, with 60 cases.

The majority are at the Mobilong prison but there are cases at the Adelaide women’s prison and pre-release centre.

There is also a positive worker at the Port Augusta prison, the premier said.

“We have put strict arrangements in place in terms of visitors into our prisons,” he said.

“This is a vulnerable community and one we have to take very, very seriously.”

Marshall said the state has freed up available hospital beds across the system.

“Omicron is a complete and utter game changer for us here in Australia,” he said.

“The COVID-ready expenditure we had was originally for Delta, we have significantly flexed that up and the additional capacity comes on when it is needed.

“We are very much within our current capacity and that is before we take action to put the new elective surgery direction in place … in the coming days”.

Marshall said Parkwynd Private Hospital would also be used as a surge capacity but would only be needed “rights towards the end” with other options – like a ban on non-urgent elective surgery – freeing up enough hospital capacity for the moment.

“The reality is we need to take precautions, you have to have some facilities on standby ready to flex up if they are needed,” he said.

“But we are certainly nowhere (near) needing that facility at the moment.”

Marshall also said he was concerned about the number of children catching the virus and the government continued to consider all options ahead of schools returning.

But the premier said he was delighted with the decreased mobility in the state on New Year’s Eve.

“I want to thank every South Australian for doing the right thing to protect themselves and their families, and the broader South Australian community,” he said.

“This is a disease that doesn’t take New Year’s Day off, this is a disease we need to take very, very seriously.”

Marshall said there was surging vaccination capacity, encouraging people to get third third shots when eligible as the state ramps up its booster program.

-with AAP

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