Australian COVID-19 cases increase for seventh-straight week, deaths on rise
COVID-19 cases have increased in Australia for the seventh-straight week, with every state and territory today reporting more infections than last week.
There were 26,531 new confirmed cases across the country this week, up from 23,661 last Friday, while the number of new deaths reported from the virus increased from 76 to 90 today.
Hospitalisations remained relatively steady, rising to 1508 from 1467, but the number of people in intensive care actually dropped, down from 35 to 33.
New South Wales recorded the most cases, with 9684, followed by Victoria (5225) and Queensland (3650). Western Australia and South Australia also both reported more than 3000 new infections.
Cases of COVID-19 have been slowly but steadily rising in Australia since mid-February, following the end of the summer wave, which peaked at more than 110,000 weekly infections leading up to Christmas.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly yesterday said he wasn’t sure if the current “ripple” would turn into a full-blown wave, but encouraged Australians to get their next booster dose as soon as they were eligible.
“Get that vaccine now,” he said.
The latest numbers follow yesterday’s warning from federal Health Minister Mark Butler, who cautioned that the pandemic hasn’t finished.
“This is not over,” Butler said in Canberra.
“There will be future waves of COVID across the course of this year.”
Butler announced the eligibility for antiviral drug Paxlovid will tomorrow be expanded to include Australians aged 60-69 with one co-morbidity (previously they required two).
The government also extended Commonwealth-funded support payments for aged care workers without leave who catch COVID-19.