Queensland braces for a COVID tidal wave: Infections soar to 714 new cases


Queensland has detected 714 new COVID-19 cases, with authorities acknowledging the actual figure is be much higher due to reduced Christmas Day testing.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard warned more infections will be diagnosed in the coming days as testing stations return to full operational status and the mutant Omnicron virus continues to spread.

“It won’t surprise us at all if within the next couple of days if the numbers get substantially higher,” Dr Gerrard warned. “That would not be a surprise.”

It comes as Treasurer Cameron Dick confirmed the state had called in debt collectors to recover unpaid hotel quarantine bills.

“This is money that is properly and rightfully owed to Queenslanders,” he said. “It is important that people pay what they agreed to pay”.

Mr Dick said an outside agency was being used so government workers could concentrate on their current tasks.

“They have better things to do to manage the pandemic,” he said.

Omicron dominates diagnoses

There are currently 2,857 active cases in the state, with seven patients in hospital but none in intensive care.

About 75 per cent of cases are the Omicron variant and 25 per cent are of the older and fading Delta strain.

More than half of the state’s 5,032 cases have been diagnosed since the borders opened on December 13.

Over 300 hospital and healthcare staff are in quarantine, with 55 confirmed as infected with the virus.

“All the healthcare services are functioning well and have plans to deal with this,” Dr Gerrard said. “So at the moment we have no issues”.

Queensland’s previous daily tally of new infections was 765 cases and 589 infections on the day before that.

-with AAP

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