SYDNEY, March 3 (Xinhua) — All public hospitals in the state of Western Australia (WA) move to a “red alert” phase as the state is expected to brace for a spike in COVID-19 cases when the border reopens.
On Thursday, WA opens its border to all interstate or international travelers with vaccination and testing requirements placed on arrivals.
Meanwhile, the state reported 1,770 new cases on Wednesday, with 16 people in hospital. To Wednesday, there is a total of 6,969 active COVID-19 cases in the state. WA Premier Mark McGowan warned a surge in hospitalizations is yet to come.
“In Australia, data shows that once a jurisdiction hits 1,000 cases a day, the peak of the Omicron outbreak is only a few weeks away,” McGowan said.
In a statement published by the WA Health Department, the state’s Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson said at “red level” hospitals would take further measures to “manage the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and reduce impacts within hospitals as much as possible.”
All healthcare facilities will increase the use of rapid antigen tests (RATs) for patients attending hospital and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95, for healthcare workers.
From March 14, category two and three elective surgeries will be reduced at public hospitals, with some private hospitals to start from March 21.
WA is the last jurisdiction in Australia to open its border to travelers. McGowan originally planned to reopen in February, but this was delayed due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 within the nation.