When will the Omicron COVID wave peak? The signs.
The World Health Organization suggests that if it is below 5%, the situation is under control.
When the diagnosis was made only by PCR test, we had good data on both the number of tests and the number of positive tests.
Now that states and territories are moving towards reporting rapid antigen test results, it’s not that simple.
Some jurisdictions like Queensland only require you to report a positive result. This means that we no longer know how many tests have been carried out.
SA Health also encourages people to report negative tests, which is a much better system.
4. Number of hospitalizations.
As Australia opens up, we’ve been told to pay more attention to COVID-19-related hospitalizations, rather than just case numbers. But even that gets complicated.
Obviously, if someone tests positive for COVID-19 and is then admitted to hospital, that is an admitted case. But what if they are admitted as a probable case?
And should hospitalization numbers include those cared for under a hospital-at-home type arrangement? After all, they are still hogging hospital resources.
Finally, what if they were admitted for something else but were later diagnosed with COVID-19 in hospital?
It is even more difficult to try to calculate the rate of COVID-19 hospitalization. This is the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 divided by the number of people diagnosed. But you have to decide which periods you are talking about, a whole other debate.
There are similar issues with measuring the numbers and rates of people in intensive care.
How do these changes impact modeling?
NSW Health recently released modeling to see what lies ahead.
With the current restrictions in place in New South Wales, modeling shows a peak of 4,700 hospitalizations, including 273 in intensive care between mid and late January.
It is not clear if the changes to the test rules have been taken into account in the modeling. However, it is understood that even if the detection rate changes significantly, it does not affect the projection of when the peak will be reached as much.
The modeling is therefore still likely to be reasonably accurate despite changes to COVID testing. This is good news for other states and territories that rely on modeling results for planning.