Western Australia’s chief health officer has warned the state’s new COVID-19 peak could hit 25,000 cases per day within weeks.
Previous modeling suggested WA would peak at 10,000 cases per day but that did not eventuate and restrictions were then eased, including scrapping masks indoors unless in a high-risk setting such as public transport and hospitals.
But chief health officer Andy Robertson said on Friday that he now expected between 20,000 and 25,000 cases per day in WA before a decline in infections.
“What we’re anticipating is that we will continue to see rises over the next couple of weeks,” he told ABC radio.
“We anticipate that the numbers will start to fall after that.”
Dr Robertson said he was still comfortable with restrictions easing.
While he was not recommending a return of the mask mandate, Dr Robertson said he was reviewing it on a “daily basis”.
“There are good arguments for people to keep wearing masks,” he said.
“We strongly encourage people to consider wearing masks, but they are having a lot less impact than they have had in the past.”
Dr Robertson revealed the vaccine mandate for most workers would be reviewed within weeks, with 80.7 per cent of the eligible population having received their third vaccination.
The number of hospitalisations and staff furloughs were factors that he would consider, he added.
WA Health reported 15,565 new infections overnight, taking the total number of active cases to 81,843.
There are now 279 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 12 in intensive care.
Three historical deaths have also been reported – a woman aged in her 50s, a man aged in his 80s and a man aged in his 90s.
“Due to confidentiality, no further information will be released by the department,” a statement read.
Among the new cases, 5708 were confirmed via a PCR test, while the remaining 9857 were self-reported positive rapid antigen tests.
Asked about concerns of under-reporting in the community, Dr Robertson said: “There’s always going to be under-reporting, but I think we’ve probably got some of the best reporting across the country.”