SA has 'most strenuous' testing regime

Kathryn Bermingham
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Virus SA

Public health chief Nicola Spurrier says SA has done more virus tests per capita, than any state

The number of coronavirus cases in South Australia has jumped to 50, as the state government describes the SA testing regime as the most strenuous in the nation..

Another eight cases were confirmed on Friday, with SA Health still investigating where four patients were exposed to the disease.

The other four had either come from overseas or been in close contact with another case, including an Unley High School student who came down with the virus after a teacher was diagnosed earlier this week.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said authorities have been able to trace the contacts of all previous cases and they would continue to look into the latest patients' circumstances.

"I am backing my public health communicable disease branch 100 per cent," she told reporters on Friday.

"They have been working around the clock to follow all of the interviews with any of these cases and to make sure they are following national protocol in terms of the contact tracing."

Dr Spurrier said South Australia had conducted the most tests per capita of any state in the country.

SA Pathology says it has undertaken more than 13,000 coronavirus tests, while as of Thursday more than 3700 people had been tested at dedicated metropolitan clinics.

Another two testing clinics opened on Friday at Gawler East, north of the CBD, and Kangaroo Island.

Meanwhile, a multi-agency command centre has been established in Adelaide to co-ordinate South Australia's response to the pandemic.

The centre will bring together senior health officials and representatives from police, the ambulance service, the fire service, the state emergency service and other government departments.

Premier Steven Marshall said the launch was part of the government's plan to tackle the spread of the virus.

"The health and wellbeing of South Australians remains our number one priority," Mr Marshall said.

"We are laser-focused on rolling out our plan to stay ahead of the curve by implementing practical, sensible measures."

The centre is currently operating Monday-Friday but its hours can be extended if the need arises.

Special arrangements will be put in place for SA's parliamentary sittings next week to allow legislation related to the coronavirus to be passed.

Pairs have been organised to allow MPs to be absent from the house to ensure correct social distancing.

Standing orders will also be suspended to allow MPs to sit anywhere in the chamber.

"The state government has reached an agreement with the opposition and crossbench to ensure state parliament can continue to operate effectively," Leader of Government Business Stephan Knoll said