New modelling shows one state will be hit with another surge in Covid case numbers as the latest Omicron variant takes off.
South Australia is expected to be hit with record daily Covid-19 case numbers, new modelling has revealed.
The Omicron BA.5 variant will be the driver for the spike, predicted to hit over the next two months.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the size of the wave was predicted to reach between 4000 to 5000 cases each day.
She said the recent modelling was the most uncertain so far, as the state no longer has international data as a basis, now that international borders are open.
“Hospitalisations have had a smaller wave and that’s what our expectation is, but I can’t say how accurate this estimation is,” Professor Spurrier said.
“There is quite a lot of uncertainty around this model.
“The wave isn’t going to be any worse than what we’ve experienced with previous variants.
“It’s going to put some pressure on the hospital system, but it’s not going to be catastrophic.”
Earlier in the day, Premier Peter Malinauskas alerted South Australians to the expected peak in daily case numbers, which will hit in about six to eight weeks.
But he said the rise “should not be a cause for panic” and did not anticipate restrictions would change.
“In NSW, currently the new BA.5 numbers have gone up quite dramatically, to a lesser extent in Victoria and there is now a presence of the BA.5 variant in South Australia,“ Mr Malinauskas said after Tuesday’s Emergency Management Committee meeting.
“This is what we’re going to see over the course of the months and years ahead – case numbers will go up and cases will go down and we need to be equipped to handle that circumstance.
“Case numbers have come down quite dramatically (in SA). They’re currently around that 2000 number, however hospitalisations have remained about the same.”
The Premier said a slight increase in hospitalisations was also possible with the predicted wave.
“It won’t be dramatic, but any increase on the hospital system is something we’re concerned about, given the strain the system is under.”
Mr Malinauskas said the variant was not believed to be more severe than previous strains, but was more transmissible.
According to SA Health data, the latest genome sampling taken between June 1 and 7 found 83.7 per cent were of the BA.2 strain.
Health Minister Chris Picton said the health system was already under “extreme pressure” and all employees were ”working their guts out” with flu and Covid-19 patients.
It comes as the state recorded 11 deaths, including a woman in her 40s, and 2270 new infections over the past 24 hours.
There are currently more than 16,000 active cases across the state.