Queensland records 20,566 COVID-19 cases, says numbers ‘underreported’

Queensland has recorded 20,566 new cases of COVID-19, as Chief Health Officer John Gerrard slammed people gathering at parties to deliberately catch the virus.

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A man in his 70s who had ‘significant other medical complications’ has died with the virus.

In the state’s hospitals, 502 people are being treated for COVID-19, with 27 people in ICU wards, six of whom are on ventilators.

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Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said Queenslanders should not be concerned about the COVID-19 peak, saying it is “just another virus”.

“There is nothing mystical or about that,” he said.

“It is just a virus and in this case we have an effective vaccine.”

“I think it is what you said, anxiety of the unknown.”

Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the number of infections is likely much higher than today’s case numbers reflect.

“We do suspect that is an underreporting of people who have not had a PCR test or have not registered their RAT test,” Ms D’Ath said. 

Ms D’Ath also said 12 children were currently hospitalised with COVID-19 in Queensland, with one of those children in intensive care.

Dr Gerrard said the number of Queenslanders in hospital was relatively low due to the high uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Now in Queensland we have well over 100,000 people who are infected and we have just 27 people in intensive care units at the moment. The vaccine is working, it’s preventing people from getting seriously ill,” he said.

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Dr Gerrard has slammed people gathering at parties in a deliberate attempt to catch COVID-19 and build immunity to the virus.

“They are utterly ridiculous,” he said.

“The best way to get immunity to this virus is through vaccination, not COVID parties. They are ridiculous.”

He added most people should be living their lives as normal while following health directions. 

“Most of us should be living as normal. I don’t think we should allow our lives to be disrupted at this stage too much by this virus.”

He urged those who are unvaccinated to avoid going out until they have had the jab, and suggested immunocompromised people avoid large crowds.

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Calls to let the virus ‘rip’

The Gold Coast mayor has called for the Queensland Government to remove mask mandates and instead let COVID-19 “rip” through the community.

Tom Tate told Today the state should deal with the Omicron variant as it would with the spread of influenza.

“How dangerous is Omicron in comparison to a normal flu?” he said.

“I said in my letter in 2019 we had five deaths a week for influenza and Omicron we don’t have any of that so are we doing an overkill here?

“I mean, it is contagious but if it’s not as virulent, well, let it rip and let’s get through the other side.”

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He added the focus should be on “people in the ICU and the mortality rate” instead of daily case numbers.

Mr Tate also said people should get vaccinated as 60 per cent of people in ICU are unvaccinated.

It comes as the Gold Coast is the focus of health authorities, with a significant amount of the state’s hospitalisations and intensive care cases coming from the area.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said tourists from other states and territories appeared to be a significant reason for the COVID spike on the Gold Coast and across the south-east.

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However, she also noted that the fully vaccinated rates among Gold Coast residents were currently tracking under the national average.

“For a tourist destination, I would have loved to see the Gold Coast at around 95 per cent,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queenslanders have “always done the right thing” but “unfortunately I think when people feel like they’re on holidays they think they don’t have to comply with these measures”.

COVID-19 vaccinations for kids rescheduled

Ms D’Ath confirmed several pharmacies and health practitioners had cancelled their vaccination appointments for children due to a lack of supply. 

“We need the Commonwealth to supply these vaccines,” Ms D’Ath said. 

In state vaccination clinics, 6539 children aged five to 11 have received a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents are advised to register their children for vaccination before entering a clinic.

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It comes as frustrations mounted in the state this morning as doctors are forced to reschedule COVID-19 vaccinations for children amid ongoing supply issues.

GPs say they are not having the Pfizer doses for five- to 11-year-olds delivered on time.

While health authorities say there are enough children’s vaccines to cover all of Australia, many are going to vaccine hubs.

There are calls to redirect more doses to GPs, who are the preferred choice of many parents when it comes to vaccinating their children.

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Source: Thanks msn.com