Covid-positive child aged under two dies in South Australia

Covid-positive child aged under two dies in South Australia

A South Australian child under the age of two with Covid-19 has died, as the state recorded 1,374 new infections.

The premier, Steven Marshall, confirmed the death on Thursday afternoon and said it would be referred to the coroner.

“The family is obviously in a great deal of distress at the moment,” Marshall told reporters.

“I can say that the cause of death has not been determined, but this was a child under the age of two who was Covid-positive.”

Marshall said he would not be giving details about whether the child was in hospital.

There were 23,420 PCR tests processed on Wednesday, returning 1,374 positive cases compared with 1,472 the previous day.

“So a slight reduction on the day before but these numbers are likely to bob around for some time,” Marshall said.

Thirty-seven people remain in hospital in South Australia, with four in intensive care, including one on a ventilator.

Following Thursday’s national cabinet meeting, Marshall said the definition of a close contact would be narrowed to a household or intimate contact of an infected person.

There will be exceptions such as “in more vulnerable communities and also where there is a known significant transmission event”, Marshall said.

He also urged people not to flood testing sites so as to ease the strain on the system, saying that the national cabinet had agreed to start relying more on rapid antigen tests.

The state has a stockpile of about 780,000 rapid antigen tests, with another 9m on order, needed for use in health settings and high-risk settings.

Marshall urged retailers to “do the right thing” on pricing RATs for the general public.

About two-thirds of people currently getting PCR tests in the state were asymptomatic, he said.

“These people, really, quite frankly, should not be in the line unless they were close contacts of somebody who was a positive case,” Marshall told reporters.

“We really do want to free up our capacity for testing for those people who have symptoms.”

With the next three days set to reach temperatures above 35C in Adelaide, testing sites are also changing their operating hours.

Across metropolitan Adelaide, sites will be open between 6.30am and 10.30am, then close until 5.30pm, staying open until 8.30pm or 10.30pm depending on the location.

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In regional SA, testing sites at Bordertown, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta will follow a similar pattern, while others will only be open for the morning or from 5.30pm.

Isolation periods for positive cases and their close contacts will also change following agreement by the national cabinet and Marshall reminded South Australians the state was no longer chasing Covid zero.

“We’re at a different stage now and so we are no longer asking casual contacts to isolate,” he said.

Narrowing the isolation periods and definition of close contacts means vital work forces, such as aged care, can continue, he said.

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