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Western Australia pledges COVID-19 funding boost as Australia records another 19 deaths

The Western Australian government will allocate an extra $1.6 billion in COVID-19 response and recovery funds in this week’s state budget, as another 19 virus-related deaths and more than 35,000 new infections are recorded across the country.

In Thursday’s Western Australian budget, the government will allocate an extra $537 million to health services, including medical equipment and the ongoing vaccine rollout, while $237 million will be used to support businesses, including grants to small companies.

There will also be $42.5 million to cover ventilation strategies in schools along with enhanced cleaning.

The spending promise came on Sunday as Australia recorded another 19 COVID-19-related deaths and more than 35,000 new virus cases.

NSW reported six fatalities on Sunday; there were five in South Australia, four in Victoria, two in Queensland, one in Western Australia, and one in Tasmania.

A further 8,891 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in NSW, Victoria reported 8,744 new infections, there were 8,747 in Western Australia, 4,673 in Queensland, 2,788 in South Australia, 788 in the ACT, 733 in Tasmania, and 223 in the Northern Territory.

Some 1,504 patients with the virus are in NSW hospitals, including 57 in intensive care units (ICU), while 491 people are hospitalised in Victoria, including 38 in ICU.

In Queensland, 426 people in hospital have COVID-19, including 12 in ICU, and 43 are hospitalised with the virus in Tasmania, including one in ICU.

Seventy-six people with COVID-19 are hospitalised in the ACT, including six in ICU, and 281 are in Western Australia hospitals, including eight in ICU.

Some 214 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalised in South Australia, including nine in ICU, and 38 people with the virus are in Northern Territory hospitals.

Vaccination advertising

South Australia on Sunday launched a $2 million advertising campaign to boost coronavirus vaccination rates, particularly for the third dose where the take-up in SA has stalled.

Only about 73 per cent of those eligible for a third dose have been jabbed, despite figures showing the death rates for those triple dosed sitting at 60.7 per 100,000 people compared to 93.6 for those double dosed and 146.5 for the unvaccinated.

Third dose rates are even worse in Queensland, at about 63 per cent, while in NSW it is 66.5 per cent and in Victoria 71.5 per cent.

South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier Source: AAP

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the data clearly showed the chance of dying with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was very low among people who were triple dosed.

“The science is absolutely crystal clear – it is not a two-dose vaccine schedule, it’s a three-dose vaccine schedule,” she said.

“I’m very keen to stop talking about boosters, because it’s not a booster. The course is actually three doses for Omicron.”

Royal Adelaide Hospital intensive care unit doctor Mark Plummer said the unit was dealing constantly with people who were seriously sick with the virus but were not fully vaccinated.

“What we are getting sick and tired of is having to speak with families at the bedside and dealing with the regret of not having been fully vaccinated,” he said.

“It’s a shocking situation. The patients are on a ventilator and they can’t speak for themselves, they’re unconscious.

“So that grief is held by their family and that regret is held by their family if they haven’t been fully vaccinated.”