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Queensland braced for COVID-19 hospital emergency

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Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr John Gerrard, has warned of a major COVID-19 emergency in the coming weeks with hospitalisations set to rise.

As of yesterday, there were 284 people in hospital with COVID-19, and 12 in intensive care, as Queensland recorded 10,332 infections – entering five figures for the first time.

“The number is increasing and is expected in the next few weeks to increase substantially,” Dr Gerrard said.

Dr Gerrard has consistently warned of sharp increases in case numbers through January, though he has forecast a quick drop-off as well.

But during that high period, he said, hospitals will be in the middle of a COVID-19 emergency. Yesterday, Dr Gerrard reiterated his message to Queenslanders that all residents should brace for continual high caseloads, but the rate of infections in hospitals is the real concern.

And with many people testing and self-managing at home, the true number of COVID-19 cases was hard to fathom.

This has lead to fears health data getting ‘weaker every day’.

Dr Griffin, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, said he feared the quality of data being relied on to make health decisions during the pandemic was getting “weaker and weaker every day”.

“We do need to monitor so we know how many cases are out there, we know where the bulk of the transmissions are occurring, and monitor our healthcare resources … so that we can make sure we don’t get overwhelmed,” Dr Griffin said.

“At the moment, there’s not a clear plan for that.

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Emily Stack
Emily Stack
Editorial Team
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