Premier Gladys Berejiklian will this week tell NSW how bad the current COVID-19 outbreak is likely to get in the next month, and how the state will cope as lockdown enters its 11th week.
- The Premier says clinicians are behind the state’s modelling
- The latest report from NSW Health shows 11 per cent of cases are ending up in hospital
- Paramedics say things are looking really bad
“All the modelling indicates to us that the peak is likely to be here in the next week or two, and the peak in hospitalisation and intensive care is likely to be with us in October,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I will present the modelling this week which will include not only what is foreshadowed to be a peak in cases but also the peak in hospitalisation, the peak in intensive care. They are relevant factors.”
More people with COVID-19 are requiring hospitalisation amid concerns the health system is struggling.
Yesterday, there were 1,030 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 175 of them in intensive care. Of those, 72 were on ventilators.
Last week the Premier revealed the hospitalisation rate was 5.5 per cent, but the latest COVID-19 surveillance report from NSW Health shows 11 per cent of cases are ending up in hospital.
In response, Ms Berejiklian said the new modelling would give the community confidence in the health system, but warned that system would be “stretched”.
“What we want to do this week is provide community assurance that even when we anticipate a worst-case scenario of the number of people likely requiring hospitalisation and intensive care, that our system has made the plans for surge capacity,” the Premier said.
“You will hear it from the clinicians who put the plan together, and why it is a good plan, but it does not mean it is not going to be stretched, that our frontline workers will not be stretched.”
Paramedics are among a number of frontline staff that have openly expressed that “things are looking very bad”.
On Saturday, the parademics union posted images on social media of ambulances across the network waiting for hours outside hospitals to be allowed to deliver COVID patients.
“Thirteen cars stuck in bed block at Concord Hospital. A paramedic with over a decade of experience in NSW has said that he has never seen Concord Hospital so busy,” the post read.
And in the same post: “Ten cars stuck at Westmead Hospital, all with COVID positive patients, three waiting for over two hours.”
The union has called for urgent action from the state government to address the “under-resourcing crisis” which they say they’ve been warning about for years.
The Premier however, is hopeful of the state returning to some semblance of normal life in mid-October, but only if 70 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated.
“Even though the intensive care capacity will be our biggest challenge in the first few weeks of October, October is the month where all of us will feel relief and that we are on the home stretch,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Once we get over the peak number of cases, people will feel more positive about the next few weeks, turn their minds to prepare children to go to school, people enjoying those things in life we have not been able to do for a long time.”
At present, 40 per cent of people have been double-dosed., while 66 per cent have received a single dose.
The government has extended the deadline for some workers in the local government areas of concern to get at least a first dose of the vaccination. The deadline was to have expired today.
Authorised workers now have until until Sunday, September 19 to get vaccinated with at least one dose. And from September 9, they will be required to show proof of their booking.
There were 1,485 locally acquired cases and three deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm Saturday.