SA cases fall, outbreak may have peaked

Premier Steven Marshall says he's increasingly hopeful SA has got on top of the Omicron wave.
Premier Steven Marshall says he's increasingly hopeful SA has got on top of the Omicron wave.

South Australia has reported a fall in new COVID-19 infections with Premier Steven Marshall saying the drop is further evidence the state may have reached the peak in the current Omicron-fuelled outbreak.

Mr Marshall said there were 3023 new infections on Friday, down from 3777 on Thursday.

"These numbers do bob around a bit but this is very significantly under our (3569) seven-day average," the premier said.

"I'm increasingly hopeful we have got on top of this very dangerous Omicron wave."

SA also reported six more deaths of people with COVID-19 and an increase in the number of people in hospital to 298 with 33 in intensive care and seven on ventilators.

The state's active cases were reported at 31,582, a fall of 6906 in the past 24 hours.

SA Health said genome sampling indicated 95 per cent of SA's new infections were now the Omicron variant.

The premier revealed the latest preliminary modelling on SA's outbreak suggested there would be no significant jump in cases once school returned early next month.

Under the proposed "hybrid" model, reception students along with those in years 1, 7, 8 and 12 will return to classrooms on February 2.

Other years will learn online for two weeks before heading back to school on February 14.

Mr Marshall said officials had decided to introduce surveillance rapid antigen testing for teachers and other staff, but only in pre-schools and the childcare centres.

They will be tested on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Other teachers and staff will be provided with seven rapid antigen tests to use if they come in close contact with a positive case.

If they test negative on those daily checks, they will be allowed to continue teaching.

There will be no widespread RAT testing for students.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said while the return to school would result in more infections among children, It was not expected to result in a large wave of new cases.

"We're not in an elimination phase. What we're trying to do in public health is reduce the transmission," she said.

"I'm really, really pleased to see those case numbers plateauing

"I'm hoping that we have come off our peak and I'm going to be very happy to see some decay in that pandemic curve.

"But we just have to take it a step at a time."

From January 27, the state's blanket work from home advice will also be revised with workplaces asked to restrict attendance to 25 per cent of the usual capacity or about one person to every four square metres.

They will also be asked to wear masks while indoors and take their lunch breaks outdoors where possible.

There will be no immediate change to other local restrictions including density limits at most venues, caps on family gatherings and mask mandates in most indoor settings, including shopping centres.

Australian Associated Press