South Australia has recorded triple-digit Covid cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic as testing clinics struggle to cope with the demand for Covid tests.
SA Health recorded 105 new infections on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 406 active cases.
The previous record for active cases was 361, which was recorded on April 4, 2020.
Five of those cases are in hospital – two men and three women – but none are in ICU or require a ventilator.
The spike in cases has sparked a surge in the number of people getting tested, leaving testing stations overwhelmed and wait times at some Adelaide clinics stretching for hours.
Opposition Health spokesman Chris Picton said the government must act urgently to keep up with the demand for testing.
"It's completely unacceptable that the resources haven't been put in to make sure that South Australians can get a timely test," he said.
“Everyone knew that when the borders opened there were going to be massive demands from people coming from interstate and also from people at exposure locations having to get tested.
“However, in the past week we’ve seen Covid-positive patients ramped, and South Australians waiting hours to do the right thing and get tested.”
Man reschedules flight due to long testing queues
The waiting time at Victoria Park's testing site, in the Adelaide Parklands, was already at three hours at 6am on Monday, according to the Adelaide Advertiser.
Other sites reportedly had waits of up to six hours over the weekend.
The Advertiser reported the Bedford Park clinic was turning cars away after a five-hour wait on Sunday, while one man rescheduled his flight after getting caught up in the unexpectedly long wait.
Premier Steven Marshall said about 300 extra staff had been deployed by SA Pathology in recent weeks to cater for the increased demand.
"We'll continue to look at all of our resources, these are constantly under review as we progress through different stages of the disease," he said.
SA is also considering a more widespread rollout of rapid antigen tests which are currently only used in health care settings and in some specific sectors including the mining industry.
The premier said the tests would be made more broadly available to the SA community "at the appropriate time”.
The significant increase in the number of COVID-19 tests is impacting test result turnaround times.
You should receive your result within 24 hours.
Please do not call the pathology lab for results earlier than 24 hours after you have had your test.
— SA Health (@SAHealth) December 20, 2021
Premier condemns man who partied instead of isolating
Mr Marshall also criticised the actions of a man who spent several hours at a city nightclub over the weekend after being informed by text he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Police are investigating the case but the premier said the man's actions were very regrettable and had caused strong public outrage.
"It serves as a lesson to everybody that while we've done well as a state, it does rely on everybody doing the right thing," he said.
"If you get a lawful direction from SA Health, you must abide by it."
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.