‘In a very good place’: Spurrier says SA ready for next COVID wave

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier says South Australia’s Christmas wave of COVID-19 will be “nowhere near as high as our previous waves” as the population has developed “rich hybrid immunity” to the virus.

Oct 11, 2022, updated Oct 11, 2022
Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

University of Adelaide Professor Joshua Ross revealed to a parliamentary committee on Monday that South Australia’s next COVID-19 wave is likely to reach peak infections on December 6 and peak hospitalisations on December 20.

According to his latest modelling, the number of daily infections could reach “six to eight thousand” in December while COVID ward occupancy may reach a high of 200.

The modelling, released by the state government on Monday, forecasts the number of people to be hospitalised “for COVID” to be around 50 to 60 people.

Spurrier said the combination of vaccines and previous exposure to the virus means South Australia is well prepared to deal with the looming wave.

“We are in a very good place now in Australia,” she told ABC Radio this morning.

“We’ve got a very highly vaccinated community and many of us have already had COVID.

“So we’ve got this rich hybrid immunity developing in our community.”

The latest modelling on the number of hospitalisations “for COVID” expected in South Australia’s next wave – significantly down on the last three waves. Image: supplied/state government

Spurrier said SA Health has been monitoring the new BA.2.75 subvariant of Omicron which has been “taking off in some other countries”, but said South Australia has “quite a lot of immunity in our community to that particular variant”.

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“The most important thing is that it’s not going to be as bad as our previous waves,” she said.

“And the impact on our hospitals is going to be a lot less.”

On Friday, SA Health reported there were 45 people in hospital with COVID-19.

Asked if mask mandates could return to deal with the next wave, Spurrier said: “I think it’s highly unlikely.”

“If we do start to see increase in case numbers, people might want to take that personal responsibility and start wearing a mask a bit more,” she said.

“But what we are trying to do along with the rest of the country is move to more personal responsibility.

“And that’s not just at an individual level, that’ll be at the level of a business or an employer … thinking about work health and safety and protecting their staff and having policies in place.

“We are trying to go away from having the government make all the law and the rules around this.”

Mandatory isolation requirements for people who test positive for COVID are set to be ditched on Friday, following a decision by national cabinet on September 30. 

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