• Jason Regan

SA reports record 3246 new COVID-19 cases

South Australia has reported 3246 new COVID-19 cases, another daily record, with the spike attributed to new year celebrations.

Premier Steven Marshall said 102 people were in hospital, up from 94 on Monday, with 12 of those in intensive care. One person is on a ventilator.

Mr Marshall said the current hospital numbers remained "well within our capacity" while the increase in cases was thought to be the flow-on from gatherings and other events on New Year's Eve.

SA's infections jumped from 2552 on Monday, but the premier said the increase was still proportionally less than in most other jurisdictions.

"We put some pretty harsh restrictions in place to make sure we didn't have a super spreader event on New Year's Eve," the premier said.
"It was a very subdued New Year's Eve, it was a very safe New Year's Eve. But we're going to continue to see our numbers track up.
"We hope to reach the peak later this month and then start coming down the other side."

Mr Marshall also revealed the arrival of 250,000 rapid antigen tests in SA, the first of 10 million the government has on order. They will be used in hospitals and aged care settings but will not be made available to the general public.

The delivery follows a decision by a private pathology service Clinpath to close four PCR testing sites in South Australia. Mr Marshall said SA Pathology had the ability to fill the shortfall as it concentrated its resources on people with virus symptoms.

Almost 21,000 tests were conducted on Monday with SA's capacity thought to be around 26,000. The premier declined to comment on Clinpath's decision but said the company had done an outstanding job in SA.

He said some private labs were struggling to get staff and SA Health was also dealing with "critical constraints" as it coped with the immediate health needs associated with the pandemic and the problem of maintaining the necessary workforce.

"We've got to justify and juggle and balance those two objectives and try to get that balance right," he said.

Amongst yesterday's COVID case figures is the South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens who is confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19.

After feeling mild symptoms of a sore throat, the Commissioner attended a testing site and yesterday evening received a message to inform him of a positive PCR test to Covid-19.

A short statement from South Australia Police was posted to their website stating that Commissioner Stevens is isolated in a private residence and will continue to carry out his role while completing the required isolation period.

Police Commissioner Stevens joins South Australian Labor leader Peter Malinauskas as high profile South Australian's confirmed to be recovering from the virus.

Mr Malinauskas confirmed the news yesterday and said in a statement he is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms. His wife and three children have all returned negative PCR tests.