SA health

SA Hospitals Declare Code Yellow Amid COVID-19 Staff Shortages

South Australia’s public hospitals are under strain as many staff are sick with COVID-19. 

On Thursday, SA Health chief Robyn Lawrence declared a system-wide code yellow, opening all available beds and pausing almost all elective surgeries in metropolitan and regional public hospitals. 

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Dr Lawrence said this decision was driven by “significant demand” throughout the week.

Adelaide metropolitan emergency departments hit code white earlier on Thursday, which means they were over-capacity. 

Patients at the Modbury Hospital also faced a wait time of over three hours, while individuals at the Flinders Medical Centre waited more than 2.5 hours. 

Modbury Hospital patients faced a wait time of over three hours, while Flinders Medical Centre patients waited more than 2.5 hours.

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About 270 staff in metropolitan hospitals are sick with COVID-19, and over 140 patients have COVID-19 and flu. 

Dr Lawrence said this has increased the pressure on the healthcare system.

“Local hospital networks have opened all available beds and paused all elective surgery except urgent cases,” she said.

Bernadette Mulholland of the SA Salaried Medical Officers Association said hospital staff are struggling.

“The government is trying to turn it around, but it’s like turning around the Titanic,” Ms. Mulholland said. “Intensive care units are full.”

It is unclear how long these emergency measures will last, and an SA Health spokesperson did not provide further details.

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