Covid-19 cases: NSW numbers almost double again with 21,151 infections, six deaths


NSW’s daily Covid-19 case tally has nearly doubled for the second time in three days, with 21,151 infections and six deaths recorded in the latest reporting period.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 18: The Sydney Opera House can be seen as a patrons attend the Opera Bar, as NSW passes the 80 per cent double vaccination milestone in Sydney, Australia, Monday, October 18, 2021.

Some restrictions such as masks and mandatory QR check-ins have been reinstated in NSW this week as case numbers surge. Photo: AFP

Hospitalisations have risen to 763, up from 746 in the previous reporting period, with 69 patients in intensive care.

The daily infection number had jumped from 6062 to 11,201 on Wednesday, and edged up to 12,226 on Thursday.

Today’s figure is the highest number of daily cases recorded in any Australian jurisdiction, and just under the total infections recorded nationally yesterday.

There were 148,410 Covid-19 swabs taken, compared to 97,201 in the previous day.

On 15 December – when the NSW government relaxed Covid-19 restrictions – Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state could see up to 25,000 daily infections by the end of January.

Hazzard cited modelling from the University of New South Wales which predicted a rapid increase in virus transmission.

“So we may not get to 25,000 cases a day, but we could,” he warned, when the case tally that day was at 1360.

The report’s author, James Wood, told the ABC at the time his projections had found a “four-fold growth in cases per week was very consistent with what we are seeing here as well as [in] international contexts”.

He said when Hazzard cited his modelling, it was still “very preliminary” and did not account for an update in booster shots.

Some of the restrictions dumped on 15 December, such as masks in several indoor settings and QR check-ins, were reinstated this week.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly warned yesterday the country could expect even more cases after a majority of the nation’s leaders broadly agreed to relax close contact isolation requirements.

After yesterday’s emergency national cabinet meeting, most states signed off on a new definition of close contact, which now means someone who has spent four hours or more with a confirmed case in a household-like setting.

In all of those jurisdictions, except for South Australia, close contacts and confirmed Covid-19 cases will now only need to isolate for seven days, if a rapid antigen test taken on day six comes back negative.

Professor Kelly conceded the move would have an impact.

“We will have more cases, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“This is a way of coping with that large caseload, it’s about using the resources we have wisely.”

A medical worker performs a PCR test at a drive-through Covid-19 test centre in western Sydney on December 21, 2021. (Photo by Mohammad FAROOQ / AFP)

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is warning the country can expect even more cases. Photo: AFP

Victoria’s cases rise for fourth time

Victoria has recorded 5919 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths as the number of hospitalisations rises.

It is the fourth day in a row the state has reported record daily case increases, after 5137 cases on Thursday.

Hospitalisations have jumped from 395 on Thursday to 428 today, but still sit below the state’s previous peak of 851 in October.

The hospitalisation figure includes 54 patients in intensive care, with 21 patients on a ventilator.

There are now 28,044 active cases of the virus, and 703 people have died in the current outbreak.

It marks the highest active cases tally in Victoria since the pandemic began.

Several outdoor testing sites are likely to close over the next few days as a heatwave sweeps the state.

Tasmania has recorded another daily jump in Covid-19 cases, with 137 new cases in the state and one more person being treated in hospital.

The state now has four positive cases being treated in hospital, with no-one in ICU.

There are now 520 active cases in the island state.

The new cases come a day after Premier Peter Gutwein announced the state would relax PCR testing requirements for incoming travellers from tomorrow.

Tasmania opened its borders to vaccinated travellers from interstate hotspots earlier this month, but required proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test within 72 hours before arriving in the state.

Gutwein said that from tomorrow, arrivals would only need to return a negative rapid antigen test in the 24 hours before travelling to Tasmania.


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