A man in his 70s and a man in his 80s have both died with COVID-19 in South Australia.
The state’s case and hospital numbers have taken another dip.
There were 3,450 cases reported today, down from 4,349 yesterday.
“Very pleasingly, we’ve seen the positive rate in South Australia continue to fall — 3,450 positive cases in the 24 hours to midnight last night — so quite a substantial decrease from two days ago when we were at 5,679, yesterday 4,349 and of course today we’re reporting 3,450,” Premier Steven Marshall said.
Hospitalisations have dropped by 16 to 220, while 26 patients remain in ICU and there are six on ventilators.
Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from January 16 with a look back at our blog.
The Adelaide Showground mass vaccination hub has been expanded to accept another 9,000 appointments per week, with the Jubilee Pavilion now being used for Moderna boosters.
“We did have demand significantly outstripping supply of vaccination appointments going back a week or two weeks ago.
“We’ve been able to very significantly flex up the capacity for the vaccination jabs in South Australia.”
Unions call for urgent meeting
South Australia’s unions for healthcare workers have called for an urgent meeting with the state government to address the ongoing pressures on the health system.
However, the Premier said they declined to meet him today.
“I made myself available today but unfortunately it wasn’t convenient for them,” he said.
The union leaders for nurses, ambulance and hospital doctors spoke to the media this morning, saying their calls to solve the state’s ramping crisis had been ignored by the government.
They said they raised concerns about the strain on health workers due to workforce shortages in a letter sent to the Premier on Friday.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars said ambulance ramping had worsened since South Australia opened its borders.
“We demand answers, we demand solutions,” she said.
the health CEO’s direction not to ramp, ramping is still occurring and we believe as a result one of our paramedic members has acquired COVID after being ramped with a patient,” she said.
The Premier said health services were “under enormous pressure and strain everywhere”.
“I’m very hopeful we’re at the peak of the Omicron outbreak here in South Australia and we can start to ease some of those concerns,” he said.
Riverland residents can pick up rapid antigen tests (RATs) from the former Glossop High School from today.
Barossa hospital only for COVID-19 patients
The Angaston District Hospital will become a COVID-patient-only hospital from Monday, after a rise in cases in the Barossa Valley.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the government should have done more planning for the virus’s spread into country areas.
“Clearly there is a need to get more services out into our regional communities to look after COVID patients,” he said.
“COVID affects everybody now that it is in South Australia — it doesn’t matter if you are in metropolitan Adelaide or regional South Australia — so additional resources being put on-line is welcome, but again, of course, we would just loved to have seen the preparatory or planning work to be done a lot earlier so the government isn’t constantly having to play catch-up.”
A licensed venue in Robe was fined $5,000 for allowing stand-up drinking, dancing and singing, while 11 other venues across the state received a caution as part of SA Police’s Operation Limit.