Authorities on Monday said the man from the Gold Coast – who is believed to have been vaccinated – died suddenly in his home on Sunday night.The death will be investigated by the coroner. If confirmed, it will bring Queensland’s pandemic death toll from seven people to eight people. The last death was in April 2021. Details of the case were scant at Monday’s Covid press conference. “All I will say, very strongly, is that it‘s very, very unusual for a young man to die suddenly from the virus,” chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said. “So we needs further investigation (into) exactly what has happenedMonday’s case figures are another jump on the 3587 new cases reported on Sunday, while Covid-19 hospitalisations in the 24 hours to 7pm rose by a third from 112 to 147. The total number of active cases in the Sunshine State is now 20,239, up from 16,688 a day ago, and a near 10-fold increase from 2147 on Christmas Day. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the number of Covid patients in intensive care has doubled to 10, with a man in his 80s on a ventilator. Monday’s update comes after Dr Gerrard predicted the state could see tens of thousands of cases at the peak of the Omicron wave “in a matter of weeks” rather than months, due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious strain. The state introduced strict new indoor mask wearing measures at the weekend to help halt the spread of the virus in a bid to ease pressure on the health system, along with existing vaccine mandates, check-in rules, and a booster shot program. However, other medical experts fear that Queensland’s pandemic planning has come up short. Doctor Maria Boulton, chair of the Australian Medical Association Queensland Council of General Practice, told ABC radio on Monday morning the Omicron strain had been a surprise, but the state should have still been more prepared for a significant rise in cases following reopening of borders in mid-December. “Omicron’s been a special beast, but we knew the date of the borders opening,” Dr Boulton said. “We knew that we had that deadline and we knew we should have gotten ready.” Dr Boulton also lashed the state government’s decision to accept a new definition for ‘close contacts’ without ensuring there was an adequate supply of rapid antigen tests. “At the moment, people can‘t find rapid antigen tests,” she said. “And the advice there for example, if you’re a close contact, and you need to have that day six rapid antigen test, and you can’t find one, then you need to go and line up for a PCR test. “But once again, the system is overwhelmed. And once again, that’s predictable. We knew that there were going to be more tests needed. “And that should have been better prepared for.”Dr Gerrard on Sunday acknowledged the stress being placed on the health system but assured Queenslanders that anyone with Covid-19 would receive care. He said government was working with private hospitals to help ease the burden on public hospitals.
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