• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

COVID by the numbers – 69 new Hawkesbury cases, 237 active cases – Hawkesbury Living into lockdown



With only one Hawkesbury test centre open – and today for only 2 hours – you might expect local new COVID numbers to be down, but unfortunately you’d be wrong – today there are 69 new Hawkesbury cases.


Richmond’s Hawkesbury Living aged care home on March St has gone into what they call “voluntary lockdown” after a staff member tested positive and a resident became a close contact after his son - who it turned out had COVID - visited. The home saw at least 8 deaths attributed to COVID in the last wave of the virus, so there's an abundance of caution there.


You may have seen our earlier story on the Hawkesbury test centres, all of which are closed until January 4, aside from the Hawkesbury Showground test site in Clarendon. That was supposed to be open from 8am to noon today – and tomorrow – but today it was closed just after 10am, with police turning people away.


Our good friend Kevin Pollard has once again crunched the day’s numbers so we’ve got a good overview here of the Hawkesbury situation, and wider afield too. Thanks to Kevin for all his hard work on this.



New Hawkesbury COVID cases in last 24 hours and postcodes they are in:



* 28 new in the 2756 postcode (Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce, Bligh Park, Clarendon, Ebenezer, Mulgrave, Pitt Town, South Windsor, Freemans Reach, McGraths Hill, Upper Colo, Central Colo, Colo Heights, Lower Portland, Glossodia) - total active yesterday: 99, so total of 127 today


* 21 in the 2753 postcode (Richmond, Richmond Lowlands, Londonderry, Grose Vale, Grose Wold, Bowen Mountain, Hobartville, Yarramundi, Agnes Banks) - total active yesterday: 33, so total of 54 today

* 9 in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong, Kurrajong, Kurrajong Heights, Kurrajong Hills, Mountain Lagoon, Wheeny Creek, Mount Tomah, Berambing, Blaxlands Ridge, Devils Wilderness) - total active yesterday: 15, so total of 24 today

* 8 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes) - total active yesterday 18, so total of 26 today

* 3 in the 2757 postcode (Kurmond) - total active yesterday: 3, so a total of 6 today



Today’s headlines:


* 69 new COVID cases recorded in the Hawkesbury in the last 24 hours – 36 linked, so 33 with no known source.


* NSW Health haven’t yet released today’s active case numbers by region, but we reckon it’s around 237 for the Hawkesbury, based on yesterday’s figures combined with the latest new cases today. When we get the official active figures we’ll let you know.


* NSW hospitalisations - 121 additional patients in the last 24 hours, a total of 726 now in hospital.


* 63 are in ICU (61, 60, 55, 52 on previous days). There were 21 people in ICU 17 days ago.

* 24 are on ventilators (23, 19, 17, 15 on previous days). There were 7 people on ventilators 16 days ago.

* 6 of those 63 in ICU have the Omicron variant, 57 have Delta.


* 40 of the 63 (63.5%) are unvaccinated, including two children under 12 who aren't eligible because of their age.


* 23 of the 63 (36.5%) in ICU are fully vaccinated. The large majority of the 63 in ICU have underlying health issues.


* Sadly, 1 COVID death in NSW today, not in the Hawkesbury.


* New cases in the last two weeks in NSW: 80% Omicron, 20% Delta.


* New cases in the last four weeks in NSW: 60% Omicron, 40% Delta.


* Of the 12,226 local cases (11,201, 6062, 6324, 6394 cases on previous days) reported to 8pm, Wednesday, December 29 – 632 are from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which includes the Hawkesbury.


* 12.58% of the 97,201 COVID tests carried out in the last 24 hours were positive (12,226).


* The rate was 7.10% yesterday, 6.48%, 6.50% and 5.84% the days before that, so a big jump.


* It was 1.73% on December 20, 0.71% on December 13 and 0.34% on December 6.


* So, in 24 days the positive rate has increased from 0.34% to 12.58% - a whopping 370 times higher.


* 12.58% positive rate is very high.


* Meanwhile, 77% of the 490 testing sites listed on the NSW Health website are either closed or operating on reduced hours through the Christmas and new year period.


* Australia and NSW will transfer from PCR tests to rapid antigen tests at testing centres in the coming weeks. RATs will be handed out at testing centres free of charge for tests to be done at home, however if a PCR testing centre has run out of the RATs it will administer a PCR test.


* Australia’s daily COVID cases could rise to 100,000 within weeks, could last for a month and won’t get back to single digits for ‘a very long time’, Doherty Institute expert infectious disease modeller said yesterday. “The numbers we are seeing, such as the 11,201 in NSW today which is probably closer 15,000, are not in the realm of very high. It can feel very high compared with what we’re used to but it’s a far cry from what it could be soon,” Dr Dr Michael Lydeamore from the Doherty Institute said.


The simultaneous circulation of the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants is creating a "tsunami of cases" across the world and could overwhelm health systems, the WHO has warned.


The US says on average it takes 33 to 75 hours, with a median of 2 to 3 days, for people to show Omicron symptoms after exposure whereby the median incubation period for Delta is 4 to 5 days for symptoms to show.


The US announce that rapid antigen tests are less accurate for detecting Omicron than first thought. Possibly as low as 70% for first test, 80% for the second two days later and 90% two days after that. First test should be at least 48 hours after exposure as infectious period/highest viral load is first 1-7 days after exposure.


Denmark, which currently has the fifth highest amount of confirmed Omicron cases (51,180) in the world has seen that variant infect 77% of fully vaccinated people and a further 14% triple vaccinated people who have had their booster shot. So 91% of all Omicron cases have had at least two doses. However, new figures show only 0.8% of all the 51,180 confirmed Omicron cases in Denmark have been hospitalised.


Although Omicron is very capable of evading antibodies and causing reinfections/breakthrough infections, it barely evades T-cells at all, meaning fully vaxxed or recovered people are likely to retain very good protection against severe disease.


Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said today that in South Africa where Omicron was first detected, that country’s experience showed so far that it is 73% less severe than Delta.


On December 19, Denmark stopped testing to identify every single Omicron case, which brings them in line with the UK, US, and Australia.




Big thanks to Kevin Pollard for crunching the numbers.

Our source information - link to NSW Health figures: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/find-the-facts-about-covid-19




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