One state is preparing for infections once its borders open, setting up centres to try to keep cases from being hospitalised.
South Australia is preparing for Covid-19 cases once its borders reopen in less than four weeks by creating Covid Care Centres where infected people can get medical attention and avoid hospitalisation.
Premier Steven Marshall announced on Thursday the state would be the first in the nation to establish the dedicated centres that would give positive patients specialist services if required.
He said about 85 per cent of people who caught the virus would be cared for in their own home and use the home quarantine app that had daily symptom checks.
If they required further medical assistance, a rapid response care team — led by nurses — would be able to refer them directly to a hospital or Covid Care Centre to be treated.
The first centre will be established at the Royal Adelaide Hospital next to the emergency department, estimated to cost about $5.5m.
Further announcements will be made in coming weeks about others popping up across the state.
Mr Marshall said the investment was included in the state’s $123m package aimed to prepare its healthcare system before the borders open.
“We announced our road map to lifting those border restrictions … now we’re rolling out all the necessary steps to make sure we are Covid-ready in South Australia,” he said.
SA Health deputy chief public health officer Emily Kirkpatrick said lessons learnt from NSW and Victoria showed the majority of Covid positive patients could be managed at home with appropriate supports.
But she said the centres would allow for newer treatments to be delivered, like IV antibody infusion treatments, chest X-rays and other forms of intervention, which would reduce the likelihood of patients being admitted to hospital or an intensive care unit.
“Our initial modelling suggests we would have a capacity of around 50 patients a day across the state … (but) we are not expecting huge numbers at the beginning,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.
“We are seeing this as an opportunity for people to remain in their homes and receive appropriate care with those escalation pathways so people go to the most appropriate place.”
It was announced earlier this week that SA will open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from November 23, once 80 per cent of its eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Restrictions are set to ease further once 90 per cent is double jabbed.