Poor time to slash COVID funding: nurses

The health sector warns patient wellbeing is on the line as the federal government tosses up slashing hospital pandemic funding at the end of the year.

In June, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed off on $760 million in funding to help states and territories deal with the virus.

The hospital pandemic support was set to expire in September, but Mr Albanese extended it to December 31.

Last week, Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy told a Senate estimates committee hearing the government was yet to make a firm decision on continuing the funding.

Meanwhile, COVID cases almost doubled in the past week and nurses' union federal secretary Lori-Anne Sharp says now is not the time to cut crucial funding.

"If we want the health-care systems to be adequately resourced to respond to the COVID crisis, then that means they are going to need to be adequately funded to do so," she told AAP.

"For the nurses and midwives who are in the trenches, they're probably not aware the funding will be expiring until it actually happens and they feel the consequences."

Vital resources including personal protective equipment, testing support, check-in services and triaging roles will be affected if the funding is slashed.

"It means that there will be resources taken from another bucket that will obviously suffer," Ms Sharp said.

Asked if a decision had been made to continue the special hospital funding beyond 2022, Health Minister Mark Butler said the premiers and prime minister had "agreed some time ago that in-patient hospital arrangements for COVID would end on December 31".

"So, hospital admissions for COVID from the first of January will be treated the same way as other admissions," he said.

"But there are a range of other COVID arrangements ... that we're going through, in a measured way, and we'll have more to say about that in the near future."

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data revealing 12,545 people had died from or with COVID as of September.

At the start of the year, 5.5 per cent of people who died from COVID were aged under 60, decreasing to under two per cent in August.

In all four waves of the pandemic, people aged between 80-89 years had both the largest number and proportion of deaths due to COVID.