Testing chaos as Qld records 5,699 COVID cases, CHO expects “hundreds of thousands” of cases in coming weeks

QUEENSLAND’s Chief Health Officer admits cases could be in the “hundreds of thousands” in the coming weeks as the virus continues to spread rapidly across the state.

The state has recorded another daily high with 5,699 new infections found in the last 24 hours.

There are now 25,924 active cases in the state.


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Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said there had been an obvious increase in positive infections in the last few days.

“Pathology Queensland is reporting that 23 per cent of the tests that they have taken yesterday came back positive,” he said.

“This suggests that there are more people in the community with COVID-19 that are yet to be picked up.”

He expects the number of cases to increase drastically in the coming weeks.

“The numbers of cases we are expecting to see through January will be very high, certainly in the hundreds of thousands if not more in Queensland,” he said.

It comes amid a morning of chaos at testing centres across the state.

Many sites were expected to reopen this morning after being closed over the New Year’s long weekend.

The Queensland Health website and street signage near sites had indicated they would be reopening today. However, many residents spent hours waiting in line only to learn their doors were still closed.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath admitted there were a number of issues.

“I can advise that our website has shown that private pathologists were to be open today but we have been advised overnight that in fact a number of private pathologists are not opening at the moment,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Some of these are due to staffing issues.

“Some will be because staff have turned up positive themselves or they are close household contacts and they are needing to stay away form the workplace

“We know that causes pressure on the system as well.

“I, in no way, criticise any of these private pathologists for not being able to open today.

“But I do need the public to know that these sites aren’t open despite what is available on the public website.”

Minister D’Ath said there were only three seasons people should be lining up for a PCR test.

“That is that you have COVID symptoms,” she said.

“Secondly, that you have done a rapid antigen test and it’s come up positive

“And thirdly, you are a household close contact and it is day six and you haven’t been able to get a RAT test.

The CHO admitted people who feel unwell should just stay at home until

“If you are sick and not easily able to get tested at present, please stay at home,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Assume you have COVID-19.”

An inability to rapid antigen tests is also adding to the testing drama.

The Health Minister confirmed half a million testing kits arrived at their distribution centre overnight and would be distributed as soon as possible. However, they will only be available at testing sites for household close contacts.

“From tomorrow we will be dispatching those across various public testing sites,” Ms D’Ath said.

“It will take a number of days to get them out into the regions and across Queensland.

“So as people turn up to testing clinics, they may see start seeing over the next few days, a separate line.

“That separate line will be for household close contacts for their day six test.”

170 people are now receiving treatment for COVID-19 in Queensland hospitals.

11 of those are in intensive care including two who are on ventilators.

The state’s first dose vaccination rate is at 90.76 per cent and 86.82 per cent double dosed.