Increase in COVID-19 cases a reminder to stay vigilant

04 Nov 2022

Dr Mark Veitch, Director Public Health

Public Health continues to closely monitor case numbers and other COVID-19 data and provide information about trends and appropriate advice to the Tasmanian public.

Tasmanian health services and Public Health remain ready to manage cases of COVID-19 and respond as required.

Tasmania is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. This is likely to be a signal of a wave of infections that we will experience over the coming one or two months.

In the week to 29 October 2022 there were 900 reported cases, 29 percent more than the 697 cases in the previous week.

While case numbers have increased, they are still lower than during the three waves of infection with the Omicron strains during 2022.

The latest increase in COVID-19 case numbers in Tasmania is similar to the experience of most mainland jurisdictions.

The rise is likely to be due to a combination of factors, including some decline in immunity after vaccination or infection, and the emergence of some new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

We had expected another wave of COVID-19 in 2022 and in the coming weeks we will gain a better understanding of the likely course of this epidemic wave.

Tasmania and all states and territories continue to monitor emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2. In Tasmania a selection of SARS-CoV-2 from positive PCR samples are subjected to genomic analysis each week, which provides evidence of the variants recently circulating in the Tasmanian community.

In the most recent analysis, BQ.1 and BA.2.75 variants of Omicron, and the recombinant variant XBB were detected, and comprised around 20 percent of tested viruses.

Available evidence suggests that while these variants have the potential to spread despite current population immunity, they do not appear to be more likely to cause serious illness than the current predominant strains.

Like elsewhere in Australia, most circulating viruses are related to the Omicron BA.5 strain.

Public Health monitors case numbers and other COVID-19 data and provides information about trends through the weekly surveillance report, which is published on the COVID-19 website.

The website also provides advice to the Tasmanian public about the current COVID-19 risk level in the community, and recommendations about measures we can use to lower the risk.

It remains important that we continue to use simple measures to keep ourselves and others safe.

The best protection against complications of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death, is to be up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. This is particularly important for those Tasmanians who are older, or who are otherwise at higher risk.

If you haven’t had your booster third dose of vaccine or, if you are eligible, a fourth dose, now is the time to get it through your GP or pharmacy.

Antiviral medications are available to treat people at higher risk of severe COVID-19. They must be taken as soon as possible after diagnosis to achieve the most reduction in your risk of complications of COVID-19.

People at higher risk should talk with their healthcare provider to plan testing if they get symptoms, and treatment if they test positive. For more Information view antiviral treatment.

Remember:

  • Keep up to date with vaccinations
  • Stay home and get tested if you have symptoms
  • Register your positive test
  • Seek treatment if you are eligible, and seek care if your condition worsens
  • Don’t visit older people or high-risk settings if you have symptoms or have COVID-19
  • Wear a face mask if you wish to, particularly when you cannot socially distance
  • Practice hygienic COVID-safe behaviours
  • Follow recommendations for cases and contacts