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Qld reports 20,566 COVID cases, one death

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Queensland’s active COVID-19 cases have increased by 20,566, with the sharp jump in the number of infections partially due to previous delays at private labs.

The state has also recorded one additional death, a man in his late 70s who had “very significant” underlying medical problems.

Tuesday’s case numbers are more than double Monday’s 9581, which were lower than expected because four private pathology labs were unable to report test results for Sunday.

The increase in case numbers is putting extra pressure on the state’s hospitals, with more than 500 patients being looked after in wards, and another 27 in intensive care.

Chief health officer John Gerrard said the number of ward patients was predicted to continue increasing until the second week of February.

“The disease we are seeing now is quite dramatically different from what we saw at the start of pandemic,” he said on Tuesday.

If the modelling is correct, hospital numbers will hopefully decrease after that, he said.

There is still concern about the rate of infection on the Gold Coast as the holiday destination passes reaches the 90 per cent single dose vaccination mark.

“Disappointingly, what we’ve found on the Gold Coast is a lot of people not wearing masks,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said on Tuesday.

Police are running several operations in the region, including the Pacific Fair shopping centre, and say those flouting mask rules are “predominantly people visiting the state”.

Meanwhile, all new jury trials in Queensland will be suspended for at least a month after the state’s outbreak grew to more than 90,000 cases with hundreds of people in hospital.

Jury trials will not recommence before February 21, with the situation to be reviewed on February 11, Supreme Court Chief Justice Catherine Holmes and Chief District Court Judge Brian Devereaux said in a statement on Tuesday.

The start of the school year has also been postponed from January 24 until February 7 for most students, with Year 11 and 12 students to start online learning on January 31.

An extra week of school will be added in December to help make up for the delay.

“I went to the vaccination centre yesterday speaking to parents … they’re extremely thankful that has been pushed back by two weeks,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.

– AAP

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