Another brutal Covid bomb is exploding across one Australian state just as the festive season kicks off.
South Australia recorded 2493 cases on Friday, a 50 per cent jump from the 1691 cases it logged just one week earlier.
In the final week of August, the state had 546 cases.
Hospitalisations are steady, with an average of 30 people a week admitted with Covid, but health officials expect the number to rise.
The docking of cruise liner Princess Cruise at Port Adelaide on Monday could also add to the state’s escalating numbers after an outbreak of Covid on board during the ship’s previous trip.
“As a relatively new virus, we can expect waves of Covid approximately every three to six months as population level immunity naturally wanes over time,” the government stated on Monday.
Health practitioners conducted 6732 PCR tests in the past week.
Health officials advocate booster shots for the elderly to stave off the threat of serious illness.
“I strongly recommend if you have a family member living in residential aged care, and they haven’t had a vaccination or a Covid infection in the last six months, to speak to their aged care provider and support them to have another booster dose this week,” South Australian chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said.
“Please take measures to protect others who are more susceptible to severe illness from Covid, including avoiding contact with them if you have symptoms and wearing a mask when necessary.”
For the rest of the population, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation states immune memory, particularly that generated by vaccine, remains adequate.
The most common variant reported in the state at the moment is XBB, a recombinant Omicron variant, health officials said.
BA. 2.86, a relatively new Omicron variant that is commonly referred to as Pirola, accounts for less than 5 per cent of circulating strains.
Health Minister Chris Picton said South Australians could take “sensible steps” to protect themselves and their loved ones from severe illness.
“This is especially important if you are older or live in an aged care facility and for those with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe disease,” he said.
“If you are eligible, please get a booster. Check in with your GP and make a plan so you can get antivirals quickly. It could save you a trip to hospital, or your life.”
The state has recorded 1624 deaths from Covid since the pandemic began.
South Australia’s latest wave follows a burst of Covid in Queensland from late October that saw hospitalisations in the Sunshine State double in two weeks.