The signs Queensland's Covid epicentre is 'close to or passed' its peak

·3-min read

Covid related hospitalisations in Queensland are "significantly lower" than expected, leading experts to believe the state may be close to reaching a peak in case numbers.

10,212 new cases were reported on Monday, as well as 13 deaths.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said there were 879 people in hospital —including 50 patients who are in intensive care — but that number is lower than they predicted.

QLD's CHO Dr John Gerrard warned there could be over a million Covid cases in the state. Source: AAP
QLD's CHO Dr John Gerrard warned there could be over a million Covid cases in the state. Source: AAP

"We won't know for a week or so when we hit the general peak for Queensland —particularly for south-east Queensland — exactly how high that peak of hospitalisations would be but we were certainly anticipating several thousand people in hospital," he told reporters on Monday.

Of the state's 13 deaths, four people were in their 70s, seven in their 80s and two in their 90s. Three were unvaccinated, one had received one dose of a Covid vaccination and nine had received two doses.

Gold Coast hospitalisations declining

Dr Gerrard said the Gold Coast was most likely to be the first area to peak, followed by Brisbane then Cairns.

He said the number of people in hospitals on the Gold coast has declined slightly every day for the past four days.

"So it would appear the Gold Coast is close to or passed the current peak," Dr Gerrard said.

"I would remind everybody though that this is the peak, it's not the end."

He said Queensland wasn't having a "very tall peak" like NSW or Victoria, with hospitalisations far lower than the thousands expected.

"So far the impact of the epidemic is less than we expected, so far in this wave, but ... I'm trying to be cautious here because we still haven't reached a peak here in Brisbane," he said.

Dr Gerrard said although Queensland hospitals were coping so far, it's important to proceed cautiously because statewide cases haven't peaked yet.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that boosters will be available from three months after the second dose, with the next two weeks "critical" in terms of reaching that peak of the Omicron wave.

Two girls walking wearing masks along the water in Brisbane with city in the background.
Gold Coast wave 'close to or past' peak with Brisbane around seven days behind. Source: QLD Health/ AAP

"Of course the Gold Coast has seen higher figures than Brisbane and the regions but we expect that Brisbane will essentially be reaching its peak over the next couple of weeks and of course some parts of regional Queensland as well," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"My message is, to the vulnerable members in our community, those elderly senior residents, about minimising your movements."

A hospital in QLD with  a Covid testing clinic sign.
Dr Gerrard said the Gold Coast was likely to be the first area to peak and Brisbane would follow within seven days. Source: AAP

40 per cent of ICU patients unvaccinated

According to Dr Gerrard, of the 50 people in ICU on Monday, 40 per cent of them are unvaccinated.

91.81 per cent of Queenslanders have received one dose of vaccination and 89.16 per cent have received two jabs.

More than 40 per cent of the 879 virus patients in hospital were unvaccinated with the government urging those eligible to get a booster.

The state government is also set to release its plan the return to school later this week, after it goes through cabinet on Monday.

Authorities delayed the return of school from January 24 to February 7 in a bid to create a "longer, flatter" peak, which Dr Gerrard said would be ideal for the health system.

with AAP

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