The president of the Australian Medical Association South Australia has met with health staff in the south-east of the state to hear about its readiness for an outbreak of COVID-19 when the borders open.

Key points:

  • AMA SA has met with south-east GPs and health providers to assess outbreak readiness
  • The state’s transition committee says it will likely reopen SA borders at an 80 per cent double-dose vaccination rate
  • Steven Marshall previously said it’s unlikely COVID-19 will be out of the state permanently

South Australian authorities today unveiled a plan on how the state will reopen to the rest of the country.

The state’s transition committee said it will seek to reopen borders at an 80 per cent double-dose vaccination rate for people aged over 16.

And in a suite of changes come November 23, the state will halve its quarantine period for international travellers from 14 days to seven. 

AMA SA President Dr Michelle Atchison.(ABC South East SA: Jack D Evans)

AMA SA president Dr Michelle Atchison, vice president Dr John Williams, and CEO Dr Samantha Mead have spent three days in the south-east to understand the region’s readiness.

“We’ve heard today from some of the general practices that they haven’t been given a lot of communication from SA Health about what they’ll need to do to be prepared,” Dr Atchison said.

Premier Steven Marshall has previously said authorities cannot keep COVID-19 out of the state permanently.

To date, the state has recorded 918 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 911 of those individuals making a recovery from the virus.

Four people have died from COVID-19.

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SA Premier Steven Marshall announced the state’s COVID-Ready roadmap.

Border communities risk

Dr Atchison said the south-east was particularly at risk, being a border community with Victoria.

The Mount Gambier hospital does not have an ICU unit, but rather a High Dependency Unit — operating 10 ventilators and two negative pressure rooms designed for patients with infectious diseases.

The entrance into the COVID testing station at Mount Gambier Showgrounds.(ABC South East SA: Sandra Morello)

Dr Atchison said the lack of an ICU could put serious pressure on the local health system.

“So people who are particularly unwell won’t be able to be managed here in the south-east. They will be transported to Adelaide,” she said.

The AMA SA president said the organisation has been involved in discussions with SA Health on how to be COVID-ready in the regions.

AMA SA’s John Williams, Michelle Atchison, and Samantha Mead are in the south-east to gauge the region’s readiness.(ABC South East SA: Jack D Evans)

In a statement, SA Health said its COVID-ready plan would ensure the system could handle cases in South Australia when borders open later this year.

“We look forward to sharing the final plan soon,” SA Health said. 

“The plan will play an important role in supporting our healthcare facilities and services and ensuring the wellbeing and safety of all South Australians.”

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