Rapid spread of the Omicron variant continues in Queensland as the state recorded 2.222 cases of Covid-19.

None of the new cases are in ICU. There are now 8586 active cases in Queensland. 

The new figure announced on Thursday follows on from 1,589 cases yesterday, of which 80 per cent were determined to be the Omicron variant.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said the virus was now present in 30 LGAs across the state.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard again warned Queenslanders they would be talking about ‘tens of thousands’ of cases in coming weeks. 

Dr Gerrard said some people contracting the virus were panicking and calling triple 0 for an ambulance and presenting to emergency departments in large numbers once they received a positive alert.

‘Most people, particularly those who have been vaccinated, will be relatively well. The illness will be mild in the vast majority of you and can be managed at home,’ he said. 

The state recorded just four cases on December 13, when its border reopened to hotspot states such as New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. 

Queensland has recorded 2.222 cases of Covid-19 but none of the new cases are in ICU

Queensland has recorded 2.222 cases of Covid-19 but none of the new cases are in ICU

Queensland has recorded 2.222 cases of Covid-19 but none of the new cases are in ICU

Drivers queue for Covid-19 PCR tests at a testing site in Boondall, Brisbane

Drivers queue for Covid-19 PCR tests at a testing site in Boondall, Brisbane

Drivers queue for Covid-19 PCR tests at a testing site in Boondall, Brisbane

Dr Gerrard encouraged Queenslanders to continue to use the state’s check-in app despite reports health authorities were no longer utilising it for contact tracing.

He foreshadowed changes to use of the app in coming days. 

The chief health officer said it was not the intention to impose further lockdowns in communities with lower vaccination rates such as Thursday Island, where 11 new infections had been detected in the past 48 hours. 

Dr Gerrard said it was clear if Australia continued with its ‘current settings’ on close contacts, it wouldn’t function because too may people will end up in quarantine.

‘We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. There are some things we can do to slow the spread… masks are important,’ he said.

‘The number of people we expect to be infected with this virus is very large, very large, all of us will know someone who is infected.

‘But it’s important to remember that most people don’t get critically ill, it’s a small proportion.’

'We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. The number of people we expect to be infected with this virus is very large, very large,' Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said, while reassuring people the Omicron variant appeared milder then previous variants

'We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. The number of people we expect to be infected with this virus is very large, very large,' Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said, while reassuring people the Omicron variant appeared milder then previous variants

‘We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. The number of people we expect to be infected with this virus is very large, very large,’ Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said, while reassuring people the Omicron variant appeared milder then previous variants

He said Queenslanders needed to think about working from home in January to help slow the spread of Omicron ‘but not lockdowns’.  

Dr Gerrard said the good news is infection with Omicron appeared to produce less severe illness, and doctors he had spoken with could distinguish between those with the Omicron an those with Delta. 

‘It appears to be milder, it’s not trivial, but it is a little bit milder,’ he said. 

‘It has a downside in that it’s much more contagious than Delta but on the good side it does appear to be a milder disease.’ 

Yesterday Dr Gerrard revealed health authorities were ‘winding back’ certain public health measures, including widespread contact tracing, as the pandemic progressed.  

‘In broad terms, we are pulling back to isolating those who are sick, and their immediate household contacts, that is the main group that we are contacting,’ Dr Gerrard said.

‘We are doing we are doing less direct contact tracing in businesses like restaurants and cafes.

‘We cannot afford to quarantine the entire population of Queensland, we know that, and this pandemic is progressing it has always been expected to progress.’

Dr Gerrard said 90.52 per cent of eligible Queenslanders aged 16 years and over had now received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, while 86.19 per cent were doubled dosed. 

'This is the first time Queenslanders will really experience the true pandemic,' Dr Gerrard said of the current widespread Omicron outbreak in the state

'This is the first time Queenslanders will really experience the true pandemic,' Dr Gerrard said of the current widespread Omicron outbreak in the state

‘This is the first time Queenslanders will really experience the true pandemic,’ Dr Gerrard said of the current widespread Omicron outbreak in the state 

He said Queensland Health had seven million rapid antigen tests on order for the state and the tests were already being used in the state’s emergency departments. 

‘This is the first time Queenslanders will really experience the true pandemic,’ Dr Gerrard said. 

‘If we are going to experience this pandemic, then January is probably the time for this to happen, because it’s warm and we know the virus spread more easily in the cooler months and schools are on leave at this time.’

Ms Grace said there was no plans to change the Queensland school calendar as yet as the Omicron variant spread. She said the possibility of a mask mandate in schools would be considered closer to the date when schools returned in January. 

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