Queensland records one of its highest COVID death rates in a single reporting period

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Queensland has recorded one of its highest death rates of the pandemic, with 27 COVID-related deaths in the last reporting period.

Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said today’s death toll included 23-month-old Ruby Edwards, who died of COVID-19 at Queensland Children’s Hospital on Sunday.

But most of them [the deaths]the rest are people over the age of 50,” Dr. Aitken said.

“The vast majority are people in their 80s and 90s out of 17 of the 27, and a significant number of those people have not been vaccinated or have only received one vaccine and certainly have not had full access to reminders.

“About 50% of our deaths continue to occur in our aged care facilities,” he said.

Dr Aitken said the death toll for this reporting period was based on Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages figures, which may include deaths recorded outside of a single day.

Hospitalizations fell below 1,000 for the first time in about a week, with 955 COVID patients treated in public and private hospitals across the state, down from 1,023 yesterday.

However, the number of patients in intensive care rose to 32 from 26 yesterday.

Queensland reported 7,364 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases statewide to 61,968.

On the death of Ruby Edwards, Dr Aiken said: “This is a tragic case, this is a very rare complication and I don’t want to talk about the individual situation of this child.”

“It is a tragic situation for this family.

“It was an incredibly rare complication of COVID…COVID is not going to suddenly come out and kill all of our children, it’s not going to happen.

“The best way to protect your children when they can’t get vaccinated is to take care of yourself and make sure you don’t catch COVID and bring it to your family.”

Wellcamp was ‘the right decision’ at the time

Queensland Deputy Director of Health Peter Aitken has defended the decision to build the Wellcamp quarantine facility.(ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

Asked about the state government’s decision to mothball the $220million Wellcamp quarantine facility, Dr Aitken said opening the site was the “right decision” at the time.

“Remember when we were talking about Wellcamp planning and isolation, we were talking about Delta [the variant] and Delta is a very different beast… it has much more severe disease, much higher death rates, much higher hospitalizations and intensive care rates,” Dr. Aitken said.

“I think it was the right decision to consider planning how we could isolate, quarantine and protect our communities from what was a much more serious virus.

“I don’t think any international epidemiologist has been able to predict the waves, the mutations, the different strains that have happened with COVID and I think it’s probably important that we plan for the worst and hope for the worst. better.

“I think that’s been a very important insurance policy to have.”

Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said his only regret was that the facility was not built sooner.

“If we had built it sooner it would have been available sooner, Queenslanders would have been safer,” Mr Miles said.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken a preparedness approach and I have no regrets about it.

“When we finally decided to move forward with the facility, it was the day after we had maxed out our hotel accommodations statewide…we had over 5,000 people in quarantine in the hotel.”

Mr Miles said isolation facilities had also been mothballed in other states.

“We weren’t the only ones who thought we needed a dedicated quarantine facility, we were just the fastest to build them,” he said.

The state government’s Wellcamp lease will end in April next year.

Mr Miles said the government was assessing alternative uses for the site from February but the facility was ‘unsuitable’ for some options on offer, such as a hub for the homeless or victims of domestic violence .

“The nature of a quarantine facility is to separate people,” he said.

“We will continue to evaluate them [the options] and, if there are suitable ones, the facility will be there for that purpose,” he said.

Dr Aitken said he was “very confident” the Ekka would go ahead as planned in early August.

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Putting the latest COVID wave into perspective.

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