Queensland has recorded 6,781 new Covid-19 cases, a significant uptick from the 5,699 cases detected on Tuesday.
There are now 32,000 active cases across the Sunshine State, but health authorities say the figure is much higher due to queues at testing clinics and the time it is taking to receive results.
There are currently 265 people in hospital with the virus including 10 patients in ICU, a positive sign the number of admissions remains steady.
Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard reassured Queenslanders that the majority would only experience mild symptoms as case numbers explode across the state.
‘The vast majority of us, particularly if we are young and healthy and don’t have underlying immune disorders, or major medical conditions, will have a mild illness when we acquire Covid-19,’ Dr Gerrard said on Wednesday.
Queensland has recorded 6,781 new Covid-19 cases, a significant uptick from the 5,699 cases detected on Tuesday (pictured, a woman leaves a testing site on Tuesday)
There are now 32,000 active cases across the Sunshine State, but health authorities say that figure is much higher due to queues at testing clinics and test wait times (pictured, queues outside a testing clinic in Annerley on Sunday)
The rise in cases comes as huge lines formed at Queensland Health testing clinics for a second consecutive day after a number of private hubs remain shut.
At least 17 private testing clinics failed to open as planned on Tuesday morning, putting public sites under pressure.
It is understood two QML testing sites, at Boondall in northern Brisbane and Robina on the Gold Coast, have again closed on Wednesday.
Queensland Health said it didn’t have information about which private clinics were shut or the waiting times at clinics run by individual hospital and health services.
‘It’s really important to highlight the spread of the virus and that of course, we will see an increase in testing as a result of how infectious Omicron is,’ a spokesman said.
There are currently 265 people in hospital with the virus and only 10 patients in ICU (pictured, people shield themselves from the sun while waiting to get tested in Brisbane)
At least 17 private testing clinics failed to open as planned on Tuesday morning, putting public hubs under pressure (pictured, locals are tested in Brisbane)
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said a ‘significant’ number of people were lining up and queueing in traffic for tests in the southeast, where temperatures are set to reach 29C.
‘But what we’re asking, of course, is that the community tries to exercise patience,’ he told ABC Radio on Wednesday morning.
‘As I said, those people I saw this morning are probably in for a long wait, and it’s pretty hot. It’s important they get tested but they need to exercise patience.’
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath on Tuesday said it was extremely hard to ramp up capacity at public clinics because staff would need to be taken out of hospitals.
Ms D’ath expressed frustration at private clinics which failed to advise the government that they wouldn’t be opening.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said it was extremely hard to ramp up capacity at public clinics because staff would need to be taken out of hospitals (pictured, queues at Brisbane sites)
Pathology group QML closed eight drive-through clinics due to staff shortages while other resources were redirected to emergency testing at aged care sites.
The health minister said the miscommunication left authorities unprepared and caused extensive wait times for residents wishing to get tested.
‘We reached out to them to see how many were opening and if they could open — of course we want them opening up as quickly as possible,’ she said.
‘My understanding is that we reached out to all the private pathologists to talk about them opening up after the Christmas break.’
Ms D’Ath urged residents to come forward for their second jab after stating the state’s second dose rate ‘should be higher right now’.
‘There are some people in Queensland now who are eligible for their second dose who have not come forward,’ she said.
When the Sunshine State hits the 90 per cent double-dose rate, unrestricted interstate and international travel will become available for those who are vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, 86.9 per cent of Queenslanders were fully vaccinated.
Residents have been asked to exercise patients while waiting in testing lines across Queensland (pictured, residents wait to get swabbed in Brisbane suburb of Annerley)
It comes after Dr Gerrard revealed the highly-contagious Omicron variant had forced health authorities back to the drawing board to come up with a new approach.
‘The Omicron strain really has changed everything,’ he said.
‘I know it sounds like a cliche, but that has completely changed all the planning.
‘When one person is on average infecting between seven and 10 others … that bares no resemblance to the Covid we’ve been dealing with right up until now.’
Epidemiologists warned Wednesday’s 6,781 new cases is just fraction of the active cases in the community after hundreds struggled to get a PCR test this week.
Dr Gerrard reported 23 per cent of the tests conducted at state-run clinics were coming back positive which indicates a high level of community transmission.