Queensland is now firmly in the grip of a third COVID-19 wave that could rival the first one early this year, with authorities urging people to wear masks and stay up to date with their vaccinations.

But they have stopped short of imposing mandates, instead leaving it up to Queenslanders to take measures to protect themselves.

The rising cases are putting extra pressure on the health system, with more than 2000 Queensland Health staff out of action because they have contracted COVID-19, with a number of others out because of flu.

There are currently 705 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Queensland, with 18 in ICUs, but Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard confirmed that modelling suggested that figure could top 1000 people by the end of July or early August when, modelling suggests, the cases will peak.

Gerrard said the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 were proving more able to be spread, and were driving the current wave of cases.

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