“Country patients will die at a higher rate than city patients when COVID-19 hits,” Dr Duncan-Smith said.
Vulnerable Indigenous communities, particularly in the state’s north-west, are of the greatest concern.
All regional hospitals except one in Bunbury, south of Perth, are without intensive care units.
“Intensive care units in Perth are in ‘bed state black’ most of the time,” Dr Duncan-Smith said.
Opposition leader Mia Davies said hospitals are “in crisis right across this state”.
Dr Duncan-Smith referenced the COVID-19 outbreak in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, to illustrate the urgency of the situation.
Katherine is just a five-hour drive to the WA town of Kununurra.
“The death rate would be in the hundreds” if an outbreak spread in the regions, Dr Duncan-Smith said.
“We currently have an outbreak in Katherine that is not far from Kununurra. We could easily see an outbreak in Kununurra in the next few days.”
Premier Mark McGowan did not deny the grim prediction.
“If we don’t get people vaccinated, large numbers of people will die,” he said, insisting speeding up regional vaccination rates was the only solution.
“I was in Headland and Karratha, I’ve been to Manjimup, Bunbury, all over the state encouraging people to get vaccinated.
“If they get vaccinated, they can avoid this problem.”