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Dramatic drop: Just 400 cases in hospital, despite 2000 new school infections

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The State’s Covid-19 hospitalisation rates are declining dramatically as the number of infected school children continues to climb.

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On Wednesday, the State recorded 6596 new cases of the virus and announced there had been 12 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the number of five to 17-year-olds who had tested positive was now 1905, compared to 1587 the previous day.

But the number of people in public hospitals with Covid-19 fell to 404 on Wednesday, down from 462 the previous day.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the hospital situation was now improving significantly and there had been a “dramatic decline” in hospitalisations.

There had, however, been a “bump in cases in children” but Dr Gerrard said it was not concerning.

“The numbers are not enormous. We had larger numbers only two to three weeks ago … to me the bigger concern with children getting infected is the risk to their parents and grandparents,” Gerrard said.

He said numbers would fluctuate and he would not read too much into fluctuations on a daily basis.

“The thing is that most useful is the hospitalisation figures. That is inexorably declining and that to me is the most useful indicator of what is happening with this pandemic.”

And the Health Minister said the information she was receiving from the Department of Education is that schools are managing well.

“There has not been a need to have any classes quarantine or of course there has not been any school closures which is great news,” D’Ath said.

Information in regards to the ages of the 12 who lost their lives was not available at the time of the Minister’s daily press conference.

So far, 92.4 per cent of Queenslanders have received one dose of the vaccine and 90.38 per cent have received two doses while 62 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have now had a booster shot.

But D’Ath said the number of five to 11-year-olds vaccinated was still below 50 per cent and she urged parents to get their children vaccinated.

Gerrard said the Covid-19 which is now circulating in the community was vastly different to that which first emerged in 2020 and 2021.

“It is a different disease. I saw this disease overseas in 2021. These were young people getting a classic viral pneumonia and dying. What we are seeing now is very different because of vaccination … vaccination has completely changed the face of this disease,” Gerrard said.

“We are not seeing symptoms like those in the early days of the pandemic, in New York and Italy.

“Now, it is older people with multiple medical conditions who are succumbing to the virus.”

In regard to the issue of whether firefighters should be forced to be vaccinated, Gerrard said he doesn’t make the rules on mandates and had not been asked to do so on this occasion.

However, he said he believed fire service employees should, like health, hospital and other workers, be vaccinated

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