COVID cases in Broken Hill are increasing with 562 cases this week, a rise of 120 in the past seven days.
As predicted by health experts, Omicron BA 5 is sweeping the country, creating a third pandemic wave.
Federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has urged people to increase mask use in places where people gather, particularly indoors.
He said, “Unless we all work together, COVID numbers will keep increasing for the next month.
“All I can say is that for the next month, all of the forecasts are that we will continue to see more cases unless we all work together to slow the spread.”
He also advises that employers review their occupational health and safety risks, mitigations, and business continuity plans.
They should consider the feasibility of some employees working from home, wearing masks in the workplace and supporting employees to take leave when sick.
“Last week, numerous measures were introduced to increase the protection of aged care residents.
As part of this, I wrote to all residential aged care facilities to stress the importance of having readily available antiviral medications within 24 hours of a positive test and a comprehensive winter plan to protect residents against COVID-19,” he added.
Dr Kelly said, “hospitalisation rates are rapidly approaching the peak we had in January, the highest hospitalisation rates throughout the pandemic. We’re about 100 short.”
“We haven’t seen the rise in intensive care admissions that we’ve seen in the past.
That’s partly due, I believe, to the strong vaccine rollout, which is protecting our most vulnerable populations and the availability of our anti-viral treatments.
I think those two things are essential but crucially, stopping the spread now will assist with those numbers coming into our frontline services, and that’s important for all of us.”