SA virus cases continue to drop

Tim DorninAAP
A union meeting on COVID safety measures in SA schools may see a teacher's strike averted.
Camera IconA union meeting on COVID safety measures in SA schools may see a teacher's strike averted. Credit: AAP

South Australia has reported another drop in COVID-19 infections as the state government provided more funds to support coronavirus patients isolating at home.

SA reported 1869 new infections on Tuesday, its lowest daily tally this year, along with five more deaths.

Hospital admissions dropped slightly to 287 with 32 in intensive care where five people remain on ventilators.

Premier Steven Marshall said among those in hospital, 63 were admitted for other health reasons.

Mr Marshall said $2.3 million had also been provided to a phone monitoring program supporting people who had contracted the virus.

An estimated 95 per cent of SA's recent cases are safely completing their 10-day isolation period at home.

"The program is not only monitoring a person's overall health and wellbeing but also their ability to access food, medication, and other vital services, providing advice and assistance where necessary," the premier said.

Participants receive a detailed health assessment over the phone and typically two calls a day to make sure they have everything they need.

If their condition deteriorates, they are referred back to SA Health for closer monitoring or possible hospitalisation.

Also on Tuesday, the Australian Education Union vowed to press on with a teacher strike on the first day of the new school year unless the government did more to ensure the safety of students and staff.

An AEU ballot on Monday returned an almost two-thirds majority in favour of the strike on February 2 after the union previously advocated for a two-week delay in the start of the school year.

Officials met with the government again on Tuesday but failed to resolve all outstanding issues, including the union's calls for a consistent testing regime across the sector.

It gave the government until Thursday morning to improve the arrangements.

Under SA's plan, schools will be open from January 31 for children of essential workers and for students considered vulnerable.

Students in reception, years 1, 7, 8 and 12 will then return on February 2 with other years resuming face-to-face classes from February 14 after two weeks of online learning.

There will be no widespread rapid antigen testing of students or teachers, although teachers will be provided with tests if they are considered a close contact of a positive case.

If they test negative they will be able to continue teaching.

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