Lockdowns in local government areas of concern could remain in place even when New South Wales hits 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage, updated modelling from the Doherty Institute suggests.
Medium-level restrictions across the state are likely to continue in NSW for some time, however stay-at-home orders could also be on the cards for some LGAs if local COVID-19 case numbers do not come down significantly in next few weeks.
Australia Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid said health authorities need to get testing, contact tracing and quarantine programs “perfect” in order to avoid strict lockdowns and overwhelming hospitals.
“What this modelling has always said was that opening up would still come with some restrictions and the need to get testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine absolutely perfect,” Dr Khorsid said on Weekend Today.
“So, if you don’t have that perfect… then you are still looking at lockdowns.
“The modelling says above 70 per cent you are still going to need stay-at-home orders if you are starting with thousands of cases. So that right now is the reality for Sydney.
“Unless, of course, those cases can come down, in which case perhaps those stay-at-home orders won’t be needed.”
Dr Khorsid said that he holds grave concerns for the state’s hospital systems, where staff are already heavily overworked.
“What the modelling doesn’t show, of course, is the impact on hospitals, if there are increased cases out in the community,” he said.
“Because around 10 per cent of people get pretty sick, some need hospital, some need ICU and Sydney’s hospitals are already under extraordinary pressure.
“Staff are demoralised, they are overworked. Some of them of course are getting sick and we need to be aware of that as we plan this opening up.”
In response to authorities announcing home quarantine will trailed in the place of hotels for returning overseas residents, Dr Khorsid said that a number of logistical issues will need to be ironed out first.
“You have got to pick the right people for a start, people who are likely to be compliant, people who have already been vaccinated. So that risk is already fairly low,” he said.
“Then, of course, making sure you have got all those processes in place.
“Some of it is a practical stuff like a sign on the door saying, ‘hey, I’m in quarantine’ but also the technology available — we understand NSW is using an app which has been developed out of South Australia and it is being used overseas.
“It is really important to make sure that those doing home quarantine are complying with the rules.”
NSW recorded 1284 local COVID-19 cases yesterday, as the state hit both the 80 per cent firs-dose vaccination target as well as 50 per cent single-doses earlier this week.Internet Explorer Channel Network