The Top End’s peak Aboriginal health body has hit out at the Territory government’s assertion the region’s COVID-19 outbreak was under control.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner on Friday said widespread transmission of the Omicron strain had been expected, and said his government would “keep calm and carry on” managing the virus.
“There are people, some very loud voices, who would like you to think that every case of COVID is a catastrophe,” he said at a Friday press conference.
“A response like that will be the medical equivalent of panic buying.”
But Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory chief executive John Paterson warned against complacency as evidence showed the outbreak was not under control.
That evidence included cancelled elective surgeries, hospital staff working double shifts, a insufficient booster uptake and a shortage of rapid-antigen tests.
“The COVID outbreak has demonstrated that complacency and overly-optimistic assurances present a real risk of avoidable adverse consequences,” Mr Paterson said.
“Case numbers continue at 1000 a day with no sign of the peak they have been promising for weeks.
“We once again call on the government to immediately establish group isolation facilities that could be supportive places for many positive people who then don’t have to infect their households.”
Mr Paterson said group isolation facilities were needed in Central Australia to reduce travel distance from home for remote residents.
There were more than 7,300 active coronavirus cases reported in the NT on Monday.