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Qld records 714 new COVID-19 infections

Queensland has detected 714 new COVID-19 cases while the Palaszczuk government calls in the debt collectors to recover unpaid hotel quarantine bills.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says the fall in case numbers by 51 from the previous day is likely because of a testing lull on Christmas Day.

“So it won’t surprise us at all if within the next couple of days if the numbers get substantially higher,” Dr Gerrard said.

“We would not be too concerned at that, that would not be a surprise”.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Cameron Dick confirmed Queensland had called in debt collectors to recover unpaid hotel quarantine bills.

“This is money that is properly and rightfully owed to Queenslanders,” he said.

“It is important that people pay what they agreed to pay”.

Mr Dick said an outside agency was being used so government workers could concentrate on their current tasks.

“They have better things to do to manage the pandemic,” he said.

There are currently 2,857 active cases in the state, with seven patients in hospital and none in intensive care.

Dr Gerrard said three-quarters of infections diagnosed in the past two weeks are under the age of 35.

“It’s probably related to the behaviour of young people. They’re more social than people over the age of 35,” he said.

“We’re watching it with great interest, but our age group is young”.

About 75 per cent of cases are the Omicron variant and 25 per cent are Delta.

More than half of the state’s 5,032 cases have been diagnosed since the borders opened on December 13.

Over 300 hospital and healthcare staff are in quarantine, with 55 confirmed as infected with the virus.

“All the healthcare services are functioning well and have plans to deal with this,” Dr Gerrard said.

“So at the moment we have no issues”.

Asked whether the government was considering using rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests to improve turnaround time for results delivery, Mr Dick said no policy change would be made before January 1.

However, he acknowledged the health system was strained amid a “difficult and challenging” period.

Queensland recorded 765 cases on Saturday for the 24 hours prior and 589 infections the day before.

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