SYDNEY: Australia should brace for more COVID-19 deaths for the next few weeks, authorities said on Wednesday (Jan 19), as record infections fuelled by the Omicron outbreak overwhelmed health systems, forcing Victoria to raise its emergency status for hospitals.
“We have seen and we will continue to see deaths, mostly in older people, mostly in people with other chronic diseases,” Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, a day after Australia suffered its deadliest day with 77 deaths from the virus.
Amid record infections, Victorian state hospitals from midday on Wednesday will move to a “code brown” status, usually reserved for natural disasters or mass casualty events, while reports said that nurses had demanded that the government get the help of the army.
Nurses in neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state on Wednesday staged a rally in one of Sydney’s biggest hospitals, protesting against staff shortages.
“Nurses and midwives are tired, angry and frustrated and feel that the NSW government isn’t supporting them at all,” said nurses’ union representative Shaye Candish.
Although Kelly admitted there were “challenges with nursing staff” levels, he said that the country’s hospital capacity was coping with rising admissions.