14/01/2022 | Steven Marshall MP

South Australia was headed for a peak of 30,000-40,000 daily cases by the third week of January if it wasn’t for the quick implementation of restrictions on Boxing Day.

Updated Omicron modelling undertaken by Professor Joshua Ross at the University of Adelaide shows that, without an increase in public health measures, South Australia would have seen tens of thousands more cases in January.

Premier Steven Marshall applauded the South Australian public for doing the right thing when the restrictions were announced, which will now see daily cases likely peak at between 6,000 and 10,000, vastly lower than the 30,000-40,000 predicted if the quick action wasn’t taken early.

“The Boxing Day restrictions, along with the willingness from South Australians to roll up and get a booster shot has meant the State was able to reduce the transmission potential of the Omicron variant by 45% - 63%,” Premier Marshall said.

“In fact, in his modelling notes, Joshua Ross states: ‘one thing that is clear is that the Activity Restrictions have made our situation much better than it would have otherwise been’.”

Projected modelling in South Australia remains slightly uncertain and depends heavily on the behaviour of South Australians over the coming weeks however, the model predicts that SA will hit the peak of this current wave between January 15 and January 25.

During that period, peak cases are projected to be between 6,000 and 10,000 per day, however the model does suggest the state may never see cases that high and we could be in the peak period right now.

At our peak, the modelling predicts SA will see around 370 hospital admissions and 50 in ICU at peak occupancy, well below the recent ‘500 Bed Plan’ announced by the Government to ensure our hospitals are not overrun.

Premier Marshall said that the Government’s recent hybrid back to school plan was also based off the University of Adelaide modelling which predicts there is a benefit to delaying the school opening in terms of the total cases experienced in 4-6 weeks following from that opening.

“Our staged approach to getting our kids back to school strikes the right balance between keeping our students safe, while also ensuring they get back to face-to-face learning as soon as possible,” Premier Marshall said.

“The median daily number of new cases on January 31 is estimated to be around 5,800 cases; one week later, that will likely reduce to around 3,600 cases; and two weeks’ later it will have reduced to around 1,800 cases – dramatically decreasing our kids getting Covid in our schools.”

Premier Marshall said the Covid Ready Committee will continue to input real data into the model to inform government when and which restrictions can be lifted.

“As I’ve said since day one of this pandemic, I don’t want to see one restriction in place for longer than it has to be and as we get over the projected peak, the CRC will be discussing the easing of restrictions for businesses and individuals.”

“I thank every single South Australian who has continued to make sacrifices at a time where all we wanted to do was celebrate with family and friends.”

“However, as this modelling says – these sacrifices have been instrumental in keeping our state safe and strong.”

“My Government will continue to listen to the health advice and make informed and sensible decisions to ensure our state comes out of this pandemic stronger than before,” Premier Marshall said.