> Hospitalisations reach new record as 19 more deaths added to COVID death toll

Hospitalisations reach new record as 19 more deaths added to COVID death toll

The number of COVID-19 related hospitalisations in South Australia has hit a new record – with 384 people now in hospital.

SA Health has also recorded another 19 deaths – but the figure includes some previously unreported cases dating back to February.

The deaths include a woman aged in her 60s, a woman in her 70s, two women in their 80s, three women in their 90s and eight men aged in their 80s and 90s.

The data reconfiguration takes the total number of COVID-related deaths in SA to 629. 

There were 3,363 new cases reported today, with 27,506 active cases in the state.

Almost three quarters of the cases sampled are the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron.

Out of the hospitalisations, SA Health said 222 patients were vaccinated with three or more vaccine doses, 128 people are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and 34 have an “unknown vaccination status”. 

A man wearing glasses speaking into microphones with a woman wearing a mask in the background
Health Minister Chris Picton says masks are recommended in schools, but not mandatory. (ABC News: Che Chorley)

Despite the hospitalisations continuing to rise, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said reintroducing broad mask mandates was not currently under consideration. 

“It’s not something that we want to race back to,” he said. 

“We’re at a different phase of the pandemic now, we do place a high value now on national consistency.” 

As students return to school today for the start of term three, Health Minister Chris Picton said letters would be sent to parents strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks. 

“There was a view between education and health, that this would be a timely reminder for parents as holidays end and school goes back, there’s a whole range of protections for COVID including mask wearing,” Mr Picton said.

He said there was no proposal to mandate mask wearing in schools at the moment. 

“There is no proposal to do that at this point,” he said. 

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