High COVID-19 caseload in Western Australia sparks concern for health care system

(Xinhua) 15:35, May 12, 2022

SYDNEY, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The state of Western Australia (WA) continues to see a spike in COVID infections, which arouses concern for its health care system.

WA Health recorded 16,670 new COVID-19 cases to 8:00 p.m. local time Wednesday night, a slight drop from yesterday's 17,033 cases, a record peak for the state since the pandemic began in Australia in early 2020. There were 275 people hospitalized with eight in the intensive care unit recorded in the same period. The state also reported a further six deaths dating back to May 3.

WA Premier Mark McGowan told the press on Wednesday that though the caseload is high, the cases being hospitalization and intensive care are still below what was predicted.

He also highlighted the rates at which unvaccinated residents were being hospitalized.

"More than 50 percent of the people in hospital haven't had their third dose, that's a large statistic, 27 percent of people in hospital haven't had one dose, now what that says to me is if you're not vaccinated, you run the risk of adverse outcomes," McGowan said.

However, the surge of COVID-19 infections still prompted calls for a reintroduction of restrictions as there are concerns that the state's health care system may be smashed.

Australian Medical Association WA President Mark Duncan-Smith said the state's current infection rates were the equivalent of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, having more than 50,000 cases a day, according to local media SBS News.

"There are already critical staff shortages, critical ramping and elective surgery being canceled because ICUs are full," he said.

Duncan-Smith also called for a return of some restrictions measures such as the mandatory indoor mask.

"Just as it has taken a week for the numbers to go up significantly following the reduced restrictions and dropping the mask mandate, any new public health initiatives will take a week before they have any effect."

"In that week there is a danger that our medical system may get smashed."

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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