Qld health: Flu decline, Omicron wave, Hendra, Monkeypox

As Queenslanders brace for the worst from the latest coronavirus wave, there was at least some good news for the Sunshine State.

Queensland’s chief health officer John Gerard has revealed that flu cases are declining across the Sunshine State as the third wave of coronavirus picks up speed.

There are just 77 influenza cases in Queensland hospitals.

That’s just a fraction of the 928 people admitted to hospitals across the state for either coronavirus or influenza treatment.

It’s also close to the number of people in hospital beds during the peak of the first Omicron wave.

There are 1861 active influenza cases in Queensland, and 48 people have died from the flu over winter.

“There is a clear decline in the number of influenza cases, this wave has clearly peaked,” Dr Gerald said.

Third wave of Omicron

Health authorities have warned this week that we are about to enter the “worst phase” of the pandemic as two new Omicron subvariants’ put pressure on hospitals.

In the last 24 hours, there have been more than 6700 new cases, bringing the total active cases to 43,047.

There are just four people requiring ventilators.

“That will be because of vaccination,” Dr Gerard said.

The BA. 4 or BA. 5 subvariants now account for 70 per cent of cases in Queensland.

There have been 10 known deaths as a result of these variants, eight of whom were not up to date with their vaccinations.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said it was likely the third wave wouldn’t peak for another two to three weeks.

Health system under pressure

More than 2300 health staff are not at work on Tuesday due to a coronavirus infection.

“The majority of health systems have gone onto tier 3, which means they are suspending some of their care,” Ms D’Ath said.

More than 1700 people are being managed with virtual at-home care to ease pressure on the heath system.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee responsible for making decisions during health emergencies has changed the rules for isolation.

If you have had Covid within the last four or more weeks and are presenting with symptoms, you will need to get tested and isolate again.

It is still mandatory to wear masks on public transport, including planes and inside health services and pharmacies.

However, Queensland is not going to consider extending indoor mask mandates during this Covid wave.

“A wide-scale indoor mask mandate is not something we’re looking at the moment,” Dr Gerard said.

“If you are particularly vulnerable, we recommend you wear a mask in any public place.”

Antiviral oral medications are available for anyone with a positive PCR test within five days of experiencing symptoms.

Animal viruses in Qld

A horse has been euthanised on a Mackay property after it tested positive for the deadly Hendra virus – the first case in five years.

There are two close human contacts that have been given an antibody treatment to prevent them from becoming infected and one low-risk contact with mild respiratory symptoms.

The first case of monkeypox was detected in Queensland on Monday.

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