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Private beds to bolster SA virus response

An extra 107 hospital beds across the private sector will be made available to public patients as South Australia continues to grapple with a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

Health Minister Chris Picton said the extra capacity would be made available as soon as possible and included intensive care, sub-acute and general ward beds.

“We are taking immediate steps to boost capacity right across our health system,” Mr Picton said on Thursday.

“I want to thank the private health sector for stepping up and providing these additional beds to help us meet the pressures faced by our public hospitals.”

With hospitalisations among people with the virus hitting record levels this week, there has been growing pressure on the public system.

On some days all beds were taken, with dozens more patients waiting to be admitted.

On Thursday, SA Health said there were 339 people in hospital with COVID-19, but that was down from the high of 384 on Monday.

SA also reported another 3957 infections along with 17 deaths, including some dating back to April.

Mr Picton said other measures to ease the pressure on hospitals included bolstering staff capacity with ongoing nurse recruitment and assistance from third-year nursing students, and providing alternative care pathways outside emergency departments, including virtual care services.

He said work was also continuing to find appropriate places for NDIS and aged-care patients stuck in hospitals, with more than 100 discharged in the past week.

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