As Covid-19 continues to run rampant across the country, Queensland's current cases could be up to five times higher than recorded, an infectious diseases expert said.
Another 9,023 new cases were recorded in the northern state on Thursday and currently, there are over 63,400 active virus cases.
On Wednesday, there were 9650 new Covid cases and 15 deaths.
But the main concern is the daily hospitalisation numbers which have peaked above 1000 for the first time since the pandemic began. Of those, 26 are in intensive care.
This number is an indication of the state's true coronavirus figures, according to Mater Hospital director of infectious diseases Dr Paul Griffin, who implied it's actually much higher.
"To get to that number of hospitalisations, it's very likely the real number of cases is many times higher than what we're hearing about right now," he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"It's impossible for us to know with any certainty exactly how high it could be, but it could very easily be 3 to 5 times that number."
Dr Griffin said the current hospitalisation figure shows "we're at breaking point in the healthcare system," as he urged the state to try and "reduce how much transmission is going on".
But Deputy Premier Steven Miles said that, while high, this case number is "well within the range that has been anticipated".
Ruling on mask mandate won't change
Despite rising case numbers, the premier said a mask mandate will not be reintroduced, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.
He argued that the mandate measures were designed to protect people before they had access to a vaccine, and said the "situation is going to continue".
But health experts are urging state and federal leaders to "listen" to advice on mask mandates.
It is the only way to bring about change in community behaviour, said Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Omar Khorshid.
Vic sees a slight drop, while NSW cases soar
In NSW, daily Covid-19 cases are continuing to soar as another 18,669 new infections were announced on Friday – the highest in over three months.
This number rose from 13,829 on Thursday and 15,352 daily cases on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Victoria has typically seen cases below 10,000 a day throughout June and July, but on Friday, the state announced 12,278 new infections and another 25 lives lost.
That number dropped slightly from Thursday with 14,312 new infections and 37 deaths reported.
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