COVID cases are rising across Australia, with the peak yet to come. Here’s a breakdown of hospitalizations in each state and territory

With the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants widely released in Australia, COVID-19 cases are on the rise and we are preparing for more.

Many health officials are predicting the latest peak will occur in the coming weeks and hospitals are already treating hundreds of people with the virus.

“There is enough evidence of how other countries have been affected by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants for us to take it for granted that cases will increase,” Hassan Vally, associate professor of epidemiology at Deakin University, says.

At the start of the pandemic, our attention was fixed on the number of new cases every day.

But as vaccination rates rose, the focus shifted to “living with the virus”, with leaders emphasizing the importance of hospitalization rates as a key measure of how we coped with the disease.

Here’s how hospitalization rates are trending across the country.

How many people are hospitalized in Australia with COVID-19?

Currently, 4,477 COVID patients are in hospitals across the countryaccording to figures announced Wednesday.

From these, 137 are in intensive care units (USI) and 33 require a fan.

Australia’s COVID hospitalization rates have returned to February levels.

This table shows the number of COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized, including cases in intensive care, broken down by state and territory.

This graph shows how many Australians with COVID are in hospital, with yellow shading representing cases in intensive care. (Australian Department of Health)

Each jurisdiction has reduced the reinfection period by 12 weeks, in line with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s recommendation to reduce it to 28 days.

This means that people who test positive for COVID-19 more than 28 days after the end of isolation due to a previous infection will be counted as new cases.

Click on the links below to go directly to your state or territory:

ACT’s daily COVID-19 case count could triple by next month

Modeling suggests that the number of ACT COVID-19 cases could reach 3,000 per day as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants spread through the capital.

The number of daily cases is expected to peak in late July or early August, ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said Monday.

“During this time, we could be seeing over 2,000 or even 3,000 cases a day right here in ACT, and that’s happening at a time when we’re also seeing these other viruses circulating in the community.”

Due to the current high demand for health care and the high number of sick staff, Canberra Health Services is calling on the community to consider their need to go to hospital or else be life threatening.

Here’s what ACT reported today:

  • 137 cases hospitalized, five in intensive care and three on ventilators
  • No new death

Omicron “circulates widely” in New South Wales

The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are “circulating widely” in the state, said NSW health officer Kerry Chant.

Here’s what the state reported today:

  • 2,001 hospitalized patients, including 56 in intensive care and 16 requiring ventilation
  • 36 other deaths

Flu and COVID cases increase in NT

Rising cases in the Northern Territory have exacerbated staffing and bed shortages in hospitals.

Here is what the NT reported today:

  • 55 hospitalized patients including three in intensive care
  • No new death

COVID-19 cases in Queensland hospitals expected to top 1,000

The state is expected to need well over 1,000 beds for COVID-19 alone at the peak of the combined BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron wave expected in the coming weeks.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the situation was likely to get worse before it gets better with virus surge expected to peak in late July or early August.

Here is what Queensland reported today:

  • 863 hospitalized cases, including 16 in intensive care
  • 18 other deaths

BA.4, BA.5 sub-variants make up the majority of cases in South Australia

The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants now account for more than half of recorded COVID-19 infections in South Australia.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said just under 55% of samples of COVID-19 infections taken last week were the Omicron variant, up from about a quarter the previous week.

SA Health expects hospitals to have a increase in COVID-related patients in three weeks after a spike in new cases.

Here is what the state reported yesterday:

  • 245 people with COVID hospitalized, including six in intensive care and one requiring ventilation
  • Two other deaths
  • Among those hospitalized, 122 people received three or more vaccine doses, 61 are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and 62 have an unknown vaccination status.

Tasmania’s hospital wards are battling COVID-19 outbreaks

Although Tasmania’s number may seem small compared to other states, it is highest number of people with virus in hospital since pandemic began.

Tasmania’s statistics include people who are simply hospitalized with the virus, not necessarily that they are being treated for the virus.

Here’s what the state reported today:

  • 125 cases in public hospitals, but only 35 of them being specifically for COVID
  • Four patients in intensive care
  • another death

Admissions to Victoria’s COVID hospital soar

COVID hospital admissions have has climbed nearly 80% in the past three weeks in the state.

The number of Victoria patients being treated for COVID in hospitals across the state has risen from 402 in mid-June to 771 cases, according to today’s figures.

Here’s what the state reported today:

  • 771 cases hospitalized, nine requiring ventilation
  • 34 active and resolved cases in intensive care
  • 20 other deaths

WA braces for wave

Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said that “BA.4 and BA.5 represent an increasing percentage of our cases, reaching over 60% of cases last week”.

Here is what WA reported yesterday:

  • 320 people hospitalized, including 10 in intensive care
  • Six other deaths

How many COVID cases have been confirmed worldwide?

There is more than 556 million COVID cases worldwideaccording Public health figures from Johns Hopkins University.

In Australia, more than 8.5 million cases of COVID-19 to date have been reported by states and territories. However, reported rates of COVID-19 are likely to underestimate the true incidence in the community.

Number of active cases of COVID-19 stand at 316,574 according to July 13 figures from the Federal Ministry of Health.

This month, Australia passed the grim milestone of 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including around 7,500 in the first half of 2022.

With COVID cases on the rise, what’s next?

In terms of the response, Prof Vally says we are in a much better position than at the start of the pandemic when we didn’t have the level of population immunity that we have now.

More than 95% of people aged 16 and over have received two doses of the vaccine, according to federal government statistics released Tuesday.

And more than 70% of those eligible for boosters received three or more doses of the vaccine.

As of this week, more people at higher risk of serious illness from the virus can access antiviral treatments.

But Professor Vally says now is not the time to be complacent.

“We face a significant challenge as we face winter and new variants that are more transmissible and able to evade immunity,” he says.

“Now is the time to be vigilant about wearing masks where they are mandatory and also in any indoor environment where you are likely to be at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations, both for COVID-19 and the flu.”

Prof Vally also says people at higher risk of disease should have a plan for accessing antivirals.

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Australians over the age of 30 will be eligible for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Carol N. Valencia