Queensland has recorded 714 new cases of coronavirus on Boxing Day with those aged under 35 making up the majority of those affected.
The revelation comes as authorities revealed more than 300 hospital and health care staff are quarantining.
The state had a record of 765 new Covid-19 infections on Christmas Day and there was a warning Queensland would reach thousands of cases by January.
There are 93 patients in hospital, with seven of those with symptoms directly related to Covid, the state’s chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said.
As of Saturday night, there were 55 hospital and health service employees confirmed to have the virus and just over 300 hospital health care staff in quarantine as a result of being a close contact either in the community or hospital environment, Dr Gerrard said.
“At the moment, we have no issues. Obviously it is one of the things that will put a strain on hospitals, there’s no question about that but all healthcare services have plans and they are managing well,” he said.
He said most cases diagnosed in Queensland recently had been in younger people, with three quarters over the last fortnight aged under 35.
“It’s probably related to the behaviour of young people — they’re more social,” he said.
“We’ve known that from the beginning that younger people are more likely to get this infection, even though they tend not to get as sick.
“We haven’t seen a lot of older people with the infection at this stage and hopefully the older group are getting their third dose of the vaccine as we speak.
“It’s early days. We’re going to be seeing tens of thousands of patients and we haven’t seen a big spread among the elderly group yet.”
However, Dr Gerrard said authorities were bracing for a spike in numbers in coming weeks, which would put a squeeze on health services.
“Even if there is a small percentage of people with Covid-19 who get seriously ill, when we get very large numbers of patients with the infection — which we inevitably will in the coming weeks — it will put a strain on health services, there’s no question about that,” Dr Gerrard said.
“Even just a small percentage of a very large number is still a large number.
“We haven’t seen it yet but we are expecting it and we’re planning for it.”
Appeal to pregnant women
Dr Gerrard also issued a warning to pregnant women to get the jab, saying authorities had noticed “a lot” have not yet been vaccinated.
“Covid-19 is a very bad infection to get during pregnancy. It’s bad for the mother and it’s bad for the unborn baby. The vaccines that we have available the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are safe and effective to give during pregnancy,” he said.
“Please, please can I make a specific appeal to pregnant women to get vaccinated now, because if living in Queensland, you are likely to be exposed to the virus in the coming weeks.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has warned that with people catching up for Christmas it is inevitable the virus will spread.
On Friday, 589 new infections were recorded which was a 60 per cent increase from the 369 cases reported the day before.
The total number of cases now in Queensland is 2857.