Good morning! Tory Shepherd here, suppressing some envy of all those who are lounging around at the beach, or reading, or still sleeping.
It’s set to be another big day of Covid news as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc. Australia hit the grim milestone yesterday of 10,000 new cases in a day.
We’ll let you know today’s results as they come in.
Testing stations have been overwhelmed – AAP reports that in New South Wales alone, the number of tests processed each day has plummeted by more than 60,000 in recent days, while the number of new infections stays high.
Around the nation healthcare systems are coming under pressure – if not from infected patients, then from staff who have potentially been exposed.
2,000 NSW healthcare workers were furloughed, prompting NSW Health to reduce the staff period of isolation from 14 days to seven:
Healthcare workers essential to service delivery, who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case in the household will now be able to leave isolation and safely return to work after seven days.
They’ll have to have a negative PCR test on day six and an assessment plan in place.
Still in NSW, Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital yesterday had to admit to a second error. First, its pathology department mistakenly told 400 people their Covid test was negative, when it was positive.
Then another 995 negative test results were sent out, when the actual result was not yet known. Human error, apparently.
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard blames Queensland. He said their requirement that travellers get tested before they travel (“simply for tourism”) was putting pressure on the system. He said:
The focus should be only on clinical testing. The energy and capacity of pathology is being sucked out of NSW.
I haven’t forgotten the other states and territories! I’ll keep you posted throughout the day.