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QIC crunches the Covid numbers and finds the system will cope


Queensland’s public health system could deal with a fourfold increase in Covid patients before it was overwhelmed, according to assumptions released today by economists at the Queensland Investment Corporation.

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QIC said admissions into intensive care units had been relatively low and were likely to remain below capacity constraints.

It comes as health authorities across the country remain cautiously optimistic Australia is nearing the peak of the Omicron wave of Covid-19, with believing peaks may already have arrived.

While case numbers remain relatively high, Health Minister Greg Hunt said data was pointing to a plateau for new infections.

Mr Hunt said there were clear signs from NSW and the ACT where numbers are flatlining, with more than 29,500 and 1600 infections on Monday respectively.

“There are signs of a plateauing, and that is playing itself through in terms of the number with serious illness as well as the number of those who are being diagnosed,” he told ABC Radio.

Queensland’s chief health officer John Gerrard on Monday revealed a significant jump in the number of people admitted to hospital due to Covid-19. Hospitalisations rose to 702 over the past 24 hours, up from 670 at the weekend.

“It would be reasonable to expect that case rates should be nearing a peak in NSW and that other states will soon follow,” the QIC report said.

“The peak in hospitalisations and ICU (admissions) should be around one week later than the peak in cases.

“Can our hospitals cope with the surge in Omicron cases. We expect the relatively high rates of vaccination and early start to the booster program should help bring the Omicron wave under control without overwhelming the health system.”

Even in NSW where case numbers are much higher than Queensland, QIC said the public and private hospital systems would cope.

It said based on assumptions from Doherty Institute modelling NSW would have the capacity to double the number of Covid patients, Victoria had room to triple its numbers while South Australia and Queensland could increase fourfold without overwhelming the public health system.

“While our estimates suggest that the hospital systems in each state should be able to cope with a further rise in reported cases over the next week, we would like to see the case rates peaking out soon to avoid the private sector needing to be involved in the provision of public health services,” QIC said.

It came as chief health officer John Gerrard said the outbreak hasn’t even peaked in Queensland yet.

“So far, the numbers have been small, but the numbers will increase. So yes, so far it’s heartening, but it’s still, the numbers will increase.”

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