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QLD Broadens 'Critical Essential Worker' Definition, Booster Wait Times Cut From Monday

Queensland's COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths are getting harder to accurately record as authorities reveal that private hospital virus patients haven't been included in its figures.

Another 10 people died and 11,947 new cases were recorded on Sunday, with the number of active cases hitting 85,112.

Of those who died, one was aged in their 30s, one was in their 60s, seven were in their 80s, and one was in their 90s. None had received a booster vaccine yet.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said there were 863 patients being treated for COVID-19 in hospital and another 47 in intensive care and 17 people on ventilators.

He said while the number of hospitalisations had dropped over 24 hours, it didn't indicate a downward trend yet.

"That's substantially lower than our projections for the total number of inpatients we're expecting," Dr Gerrard told reporters on Sunday.

"So I I think there's a lot more to come."

The CHO said it was becoming more difficult to distinguish which patients were in hospital because of COVID-19 and which patients had been admitted to hospital for other reasons but tested positive for the virus.

He admitted that almost everyone who died after testing positive was being recorded as a virus death.

"Unless it's very clear, very, very clear that someone has died from a completely unrelated cause," he said.

"We had a young person who died in a motor vehicle accident for example, about a week or two ago, who just happened to swab positive in the post mortem ... and clearly ...COVID wasn't the cause."

Hospitalisations will rise in coming days as authorities add the data from private hospitals to the daily figures for the first time.

Dr Gerrard said more patients in private facilities were testing positive and public hospitals had started transferring some stable COVID-19 patients to private hospitals.

Meanwhile Ms D'Ath ruled out rapid antigen testing school students twice a week after the NSW government announced a plan to do so.

She said there was no national health advice to do so, it was "not a comfortable test at the best of times" and rapid test supplies were limited in Queensland.

"We believe that those tests are best focused in the areas where we need them the most, such as ...being able to get hold of them for critical essential workers, aged Care, health," the minister said.

The definition of "critical essential worker" will be broadened in Queensland to allow more workers who are quarantining as close contacts to go to work, with certain conditions.

It will now include workers in telecommunications, broadcasting and journalism, private and public aged care and the disability sector.

The guidelines will depend on workers agreeing to leave quarantine, she said, as some may be caring for sick family members.

Ms D'Ath said it's best practice for companies to test workers daily and it will be expected when more RATs arrive in the state.

Ms D'Ath said 65.3 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have now had a booster and from Monday, anyone in Queensland who had their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in October or earlier will become eligible for a third jab.

AAP with The Project