South Australia has recorded five more Covid-19 deaths and 4274 new cases overnight, with the Premier calling a rise in infections among health workers and remote Aboriginal communities “very concerning”.
Steven Marshall told reporters on Saturday the deaths were one person aged in their 50s, one in their 60s, one in their 70s and two in their 90s.
“We are very sad with this number that we need to report today and our condolences are with their families and friends,” Mr Marshall said.
He said hospitalisations had risen by 20 to 164, including several pregnant women who had tested positive to the virus but had come in to give birth.
This figure remained “well within our capacity to process”, Mr Marshall said.
Of those 164 hospitalisations, the number of people in intensive care remains 16, with those on ventilators rising from one to two.
Hospitalisation rates for the Omicron strain were lower than with Delta, Mr Marshall noted, but warned “nobody is going to be spared” from the variant.
“And no jurisdiction is going to be exempt,” he said.
The Premier said two additional SA Health workers had tested positive to the virus, taking the number who were furloughed or infected to 608 out of 53,000.
“That number is steadily increasing and it is one that we are very concerned about and want to manage as best as we possibly can.”
He said authorities were very concerned about two positive cases close to the Northern Territory border.
“I can also report that we have another two cases on … the far west coast of SA, and we also have one further positive case where somebody from Adelaide moved back to a town recently and have returned a positive swab,” Mr Marshall said.
“These are vulnerable communities due to their remote location and so we are working with the local health providers as well as putting our rapid response team in place to support them.”
By January 29, all healthcare, aged care and disability sector workers in the state must have received a booster shot on top of their two vaccine doses, or provide evidence of a booking to receive one within four weeks of becoming eligible.
“And I do need to give advance warning that we are very strongly considering making it mandatory for the booster in other sectors as well, including childcare and the education sector,” Mr Marshall warned.
“These are really important frontline people.”