COVID case numbers spike in fourth wave

November 21, 2022 BY

COVID rates in Australia are spiking as another wave rolls through the community. Photos: UNSPLASH

BARWON Health reported close to a 50 per cent week on week increase in COVID-19 case numbers over a period of seven days last week, part of nation-wide surge in infections.

Along with a rise in hospitalisations due to the virus, the health authority said it was a timely reminder for people to check their vaccinations are up to date.

“Vaccination remains the best defence against contracting COVID-19,” Barwon Health’s Kate Bibby said.

Greater Geelong recorded 788 new cases over seven days up to Thursday (November4-10), the Surf Coast had 109 and the Borough of Queenscliffe had 17.

There were 22 COVID patients in University Hospital Geelong as of Thursday last week.
They were among a statewide total of 16,636 new cases over the same time frame, a 63 per cent increase for Victoria, during which 41 deaths were reported and hospitalisations were up by 18 per cent.

Speaking after the data release on Thursday last week, Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the rise was being driven by emerging Omicron subvariants including BQ.1 and XBB, although there was “currently no evidence to suggest these subvariants cause more severe disease”.

“However, hospitalisation rates are likely increasing due to waning immunity from past vaccination and the ability of these new subvariants to escape immunity from past infection,” he said.

“Cases increased this week across all age groups. The overall number of COVID patients in intensive care remains low, however the daily average has increased by more than 50 per cent when compared to last week.”

Similar increases were recorded in Queensland and NSW, where Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said “I can confirm that we are entering the fourth wave of COVID for 2022”.

Public COVID testing sites like Torquay have closed after two years of operation.

The last of Victoria’s pandemic restrictions were revoked on October 12, including mandatory isolation periods and vaccination orders for general workers, and followed the ending of a requirement to wear masks on public transport three weeks earlier.

Workers in the aged care, health, disability and Aboriginal sectors are still required to isolate under nationally consistent rules, and financial support is still available to those workers to help them isolate.

Public testing sites for the virus, including in Torquay, also ceased operating in tandem with the end of restrictions.

“As we are in a well-established wave, increasing community and public health actions will reduce transmission and the impact on illness, deaths and the health system,” Professor Sutton said.

“Protecting yourself is the best way to protect yourself and the community. If you don’t get COVID, you can’t spread COVID.”