Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard (Photo: Qld Health)

December 16, 2022

Queenslanders with COVID-19 symptoms have been urged to avoid visiting elderly friends and family, as the State’s latest wave approaches a peak.

Statistics released by Queensland Health on Friday morning show another 33 COVID-related deaths were recorded during the last reporting period, taking the State’s toll since the pandemic began to 2394.

Since the beginning of November, Queensland Health has reported a total of 121 deaths.

On Wednesday night, there were 515 people being treated for COVID-19 in Queensland hospitals, including eight patients in intensive care.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said cases and hospitalisations continued to climb but he expected the wave would peak during the coming week.

“We are in week five of our wave and case numbers are continuing to increase,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Previous waves in Queensland have all peaked by the end of the sixth week. Early signs in other States are promising.”

Queensland Health reported a total of 16,600 new cases during the last reporting period, compared with 13,632 the previous week,

Dr Gerrard urged people who had COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, to avoid visiting family and friends over Christmas, especially if they were elderly.

“If you are unwell, even slightly so, it’s important to stay away from older people, especially those who are not up-to-date with their vaccinations,” he said.

“Not seeing elderly loved ones at Christmas is disappointing, but it would be distressing if you were to infect them.

“What you can do for them is ensure they’re vaccinated – all Queenslanders over the age of 60 should have had four doses.

“Unfortunately, we are still seeing a high number of people in this age group being infected, who weren’t up-to-date with their vaccinations.

“More than 5300 people in the current wave were overdue for their fourth dose when they were infected.

“That is a missed opportunity for protection.”

Dr Gerrard said people also needed to take precautions if attending large festive gatherings.

“In addition to being fully vaccinated, consider wearing a mask and socially distancing, especially if you’re around immunocompromised or elderly people, or vulnerable yourself,” he said.

Dr Gerrard said that because of the increase in infections, the State’s COVID-19 traffic light system would remain on amber, meaning people were advised to wear a mask in healthcare settings, indoors if they cannot socially distance and on public transport.


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