Covid cases numbers explode in WA

WA Health reported 12,390 new infections overnight, taking the total number of active cases to 61,775.There are now 286 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including eight in intensive care.Six historical deaths have also been reported — two women aged in their 80s, a man aged in his 80s, a man aged in his 70s and two women aged in their 60s.“Due to confidentiality, no further information will be released by the department,” a statement read.Premier Mark McGowan reiterated to reporters on Tuesday that the surge in Covid-19 cases was not as relevant as the number of hospitalisations, which had remained steady.Meanwhile, the McGowan government will extend its special powers until January 3 next year so it can keep enforcing Covid-19 rules, such as mandatory masks in hospitals and seven-days of isolation for positive cases.The legislation will only remain in effect while WA is in a State of Emergency during the pandemic.The new Bill does not extend the State of Emergency, which is renewed fortnightly under the existing Emergency Management Act 2005.“I know the Liberals and Nationals don’t want us to do this,” he told reporters.“The alternative is far more people acquire Covid, particularly in vulnerable environments, for instance in aged care and hospitals. I don’t want to see that happen.”Mr McGowan insisted the laws would only stay in place while they were needed.Capacity limits at venues were recently dumped and masks are no longer mandated at most places.However, many people still continue to wear a mask indoors.Australian Medical Association WA president Mark Duncan-Smith previously said if hospitalisations hit between 300 and 350 then some restrictions should be reintroduced. On Tuesday, he told reporters he expected those figures to be reached later this week and said mandatory use of masks should at least come back at that stage.“ICU is not the only KPI that needs to be addressed when we’re looking at the health system,” he said.“The health system is currently under strain and that’s evidenced by the ramping, the code yellows, by nursing staff having 30 per cent absenteeism, reduced doctors on the wards (and) reduced consultant staff. “We have doctors and nurses doing double shifts and not taking meal breaks to keep the system safe.”WA has a third dose vaccination rate of 80.4 per cent among people aged 16 and over.The state has recorded 473,909 cases since the pandemic began.

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