Chief Medical Officer says Australia is ‘close to peak’ of Omicron wave, hospitalizations ‘not close’ in terms of levels

The Chief Medical Officer has said Australia is “close to the peak” of its current wave of Omicron cases, with infections continuing to rise across the country, but it’s “a different story” for one state.

Australia is close to its peak of Omicron cases, with Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly predicting infections will level off and then drop within weeks.

COVID infections across Australia continue to rise, with Victoria and New South Wales recording 25,526 and 48,768 cases respectively, while Queensland reported 19,709 new infections.

However, Professor Kelly said there were “signs of hope” and emphasized that data from around the world showed cases “rising, peaking and tumbling”.

“All the predictions and now the actual forecasts based on the actual number of cases, particularly in NSW but also in Victoria and the ACT lead me to believe that we are close to the peak of this wave in terms of number of cases,” he said on Saturday.

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Professor Kelly said that in most jurisdictions with ongoing outbreaks there has been or will be a spike in cases in the coming weeks.

But the Chief Medical Officer added that Western Australia was “a different story” and warned the state will see rising cases in the future.

“Of course Western Australia is a different story; when they start to have cases, it will be later,” he said.

“But for most of the rest of Australia, we’re still on that upward curve, we can reach a plateau and then there’s a downward wave of business.

“We’re not through it yet. I think there will still be a significant number of cases diagnosed in Australia in the coming weeks.”

As the number of cases continues to grow, there are concerns about rising hospital admissions and ICU rates and the strained health system.

NSW currently has 2,576 COVID patients hospitalized and 193 in the ICU, but on Friday Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the state surpassed last week’s published “best case scenario” modeling.

“We are currently tracking both ICU and hospitalization rates here in NSW better than the best-case scenario we released last week,” he said.

Professor Kelly echoed the Prime Minister’s comments, saying no state had come “close” to putting a worrying strain on the hospital system.

“If we look at every state and nationally, no state or national level has achieved that — a tension that we would be concerned about in terms of the number of cases hospitalized,” he said.

“At least in some of the major states it already seems to be slowing down.

“In terms of intensive care, this is under pressure in some states. We are aware of that. We have plans for peaks, they are being implemented now and I am confident we can deal with them in the coming weeks.”

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