June 23, 2023
Queensland Health has dumped the “traffic light” system to warn residents about COVID-19 risks, opting to treat COVID now like any other respiratory disease.
As of June 20, Queensland was reporting an average of 453 new COVID cases every day, down almost 100 a day from the previous week.
From January 1 to June 18, 101,351 COVID-19 cases had been recorded in Queensland. However, this figure only records those cases actually reported to authorities.
Between June 12-18 – the latest figures available – there was an average of 256 patients being treated daily in Queensland public hospitals for COVID, including one in intensive care.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Queensland this year (to June 18) is 515, taking the toll since the pandemic began to about 2920.
According to Federal Health Department figures, on June 5, there was a rolling seven-day average of four deaths per day in Queensland.
A Queensland Health media statement said from Friday, it would be monitoring COVID-19 as part of its broader surveillance of acute respiratory illnesses, such as influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
“The move is in response to evidence pointing to a decline in COVID-19 waves and the World Health Organization’s declaration the illness was no longer a public health emergency,” the statement said.
Queensland Health said 32,577 cases of flu had been reported in Queensland to June 18, including 41 deaths.
Between June 12-18, there was an average of 180 people patients being treated daily in Queensland public hospitals for the flu, including three in intensive care.
To June 18, there had been 41 deaths in Queensland due to influenza so far this year.
“This new phase in the way Queensland manages COVID-19 is possible thanks to our strong health response during the peak of the pandemic,” Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said.
“While we are discontinuing the traffic light system, it is not the time for complacency. The virus is still out there, as well as influenza and RSV, so we need to take care.
“The best thing people can do to protect themselves and loved ones against the flu is to get vaccinated.”
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said COVID-19 was “now an ongoing part of our reality”.
“COVID-19 waves are declining in trend and severity, in line with evidence pointing to the illness becoming endemic,” he said.
“While the virus remains very active in the community, we haven’t seen major surges in hospitalisations since December last year.
“Given this, a widescale COVID-19-specific traffic light alert system is no longer appropriate or necessary.”
- External link: Weekly COVID-19 Reporting