• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

Most COVID restrictions gone – meanwhile 804 new NSW cases today – 6 active Hawkesbury cases



In the last 24 hours there have been 804 new COVID cases across NSW, with three new Hawkesbury cases in the last 2 days, amidst predictions we may be seeing 1000 new cases a day state-wide by December 22.


Do we have anything to worry about?


After all most of the adult population of NSW is now double-vaccinated and there is currently only one person in NSW hospitalised with the new fast-spreading Omicron variant.


Well, the federal government is urging all those who have been double-vaxxed to go and get a booster, five months after their last injection.


Numbers guru Kevin Pollard, who keeps a close eye on all things COVID-related for us, says on the evidence, “we have a problem here in Greater Sydney. This is definitely a new COVID wave in NSW”.


Tomorrow – Wednesday – pretty much all COVID restrictions in the Hawkesbury [we’re part of Greater Sydney] cease, so no more masks in shops, no checking-in required.


New COVID cases in the Hawkesbury - and postcodes they are in [last 24 hours]


* 1 from the Hawkesbury LGA, unlinked – in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong)


Total active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury - and postcodes they are in


* 2 in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong, Kurrajong, Kurrajong Heights, Kurrajong Hills, Mountain Lagoon, Wheeny Creek, Mount Tomah, Berambing, Blaxlands Ridge, Devils Wilderness) - was 2 yesterday


* 2 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) - was 2 yesterday


* 1 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes) - was 1 yesterday


* 1 in the 2753 postcode (Richmond, Richmond Lowlands, Londonderry, Grose Vale, Grose Wold, Bowen Mountain, Hobartville, Yarramundi, Agnes Banks) - was 1 yesterday


Today’s COVID numbers:


1 new COVID case in the Hawkesbury in the last 24 hours


6 active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury


There are 5179 active cases (was 4677 yesterday) in NSW.


On November 29 - there were 150 new NSW COVID cases in one day - today there are 804.


The Covidsafe contact-tracing app, which has cost $9 million of taxpayer funds to develop, has been used just 13 times between May and November (6 months) 2021 during the Delta outbreaks in NSW and Victoria.


Of the 804 new NSW cases (536, 485, 560 cases on previous days) reported to 8pm, Monday, December 13 - 21 are from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which includes the Hawkesbury.


In the Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, there were 15 cases yesterday, 14, 17, 18, 17, 10, 7, 6, 12, 5, 26, 3, 12 cases on previous days.



The main changes from Wednesday are:

  • density limits no longer apply

  • proof of vaccination is not required at many venues

  • QR check-in is now only needed for certain high-contact premises

  • face masks no longer need to be worn at many indoor areas


  • If you are over the age of 12, you must still wear a face mask:

  • at a public transport waiting area

  • while on public transport

  • at airports and on aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW

  • for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated.

Masks are no longer required in outdoor settings.


COVID-19 Safe QR check-ins are only required at

  • pubs, small bars and registered clubs

  • hairdressers, spas, nail, beauty, waxing, and tanning salons, tattoo parlours and massage parlours

  • gyms (except dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics, and martial arts studios)

  • hospitals (except patients of hospitals or hospitals with an electronic entry recording system that records sufficient information that can be used for contact tracing)

  • residential care facilities or hostels (except in relation to the residents)

  • places of public worship

  • funeral, memorials and gatherings afterwards

  • nightclubs

  • strip clubs, sex on premises venues, sex services premises

  • indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

If you are entering a premises where check-in is required, you must

  • check in with the Service NSW app

  • provide your details to the occupier of the premises.


Vaccination evidence


Most premises in NSW will now be open to everyone, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.


You no longer need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated at most premises.


However, you still need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated if you

  • attend a music festival with more than 1000 people

  • at airports

  • if you work in certain industries.


The COVID numbers:


There have been at least 738 NSW schools with COVID cases (most schools close for a day, but not all schools report or close after a COVID case) since the beginning of Term 4 on October 5 (there have been 51 school days).


There were 86,562 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous days of 74,997, 90,804, 82,517, 90,223 tests.


0.93% of the 86,562 COVID tests were positive (804). Positivity rate was 0.71% yesterday, 0.53%, 0.68% the days before that.


0.93% positive rate is the highest in NSW since September 25 when it was also 0.93% (1007 cases from 108,105 tests).


The Reff (effective transmission number) is 1.90, was 1.75 yesterday. The Reff number is high (1.3 is considered high).


Some 472 of today's 804 cases were in Sydney (58.7%) with a whopping 224 from Hunter New England LHD, with 116 from Newcastle, 48 from Lake Macquarie, 28 Maitland, 11 Port Stephens, 7 Cessnock.


The 224 from Hunter New England and 116 from Newcastle are pandemic highs in those areas.


In the Hunter New England LHD, one week ago there were 7 new cases reported, yesterday 28, today 224. The previous pandemic high was 103 on October 9.


There are now a total of 85 Omicron cases (was 64, 55, 45, 42 on previous days) in NSW.


More Omicron cases are expected as results of genomic testing are confirmed. To date, one Omicron case has been admitted to hospital in NSW for treatment of COVID.


The large majority of the 118 Omicron (was 88 yesterday) cases in Australia (85 NSW, 15 VIC, 10 ACT, 3 SA, 3 QLD, 2 NT) are fully vaccinated. Only 2 are hospital (1 QLD, 1 NSW).


More than 1.9 million COVID case alerts have been issued in the Service NSW app over the past fortnight as end-of-year celebrations drive an upswing in the State’s cases


A massive increase in third [booster] jabs in the last two days. Total of 854,210 booster shots administered in Australia so far.



The Omicron variant experience overseas:


* UK PM Boris Johnson has confirmed the first death from Omicron variant in the UK, with up to 30 in hospital with that variant.


* Omicron is causing 200,000 new COVID infections every day, UK Health Minister Sajid Javid tells MPs.


* The Delta variant originated in December 20, 2020. It devastated US, Europe, India and Indonesia many months later so it’s too early in the cycle (Omicron was uncovered just over two weeks ago) of infection for even a small amount of deaths from this variant. It will take over 1 month before we'll see the effects of Omicron.


* Denmark reports 7799 new COVID cases, the biggest one-day increase on record. Previous record was 7146 cases on December 6, 2021.


* Greek citizens over the age of 60 who have not received a booster shot within 7 months are now considered unvaccinated.


* Norway's public health agency warns of explosive growth in Omicron cases - government to announce new measures today. They are predicting 90,000 to 300,000 new cases + 50-200 new hospitalisations daily in Norway in only 3 weeks due to Omicron.


* South Africa reports 13,992 COVID cases and 11 deaths, 31.0% positivity rate. Yesterday, South Africa reported 18,035 COVID cases and 21 deaths, 28.9% positivity rate.



COVID deaths and hospital numbers – 1 death in the last 24 hours – none in the Hawkesbury


NSW Health is today reporting 1 death - a woman in her 60s from the Albury area in NSW who died at Goulburn Valley Health hospital in Victoria. She was not vaccinated.


There have been 588 COVID-related deaths in NSW since this Delta outbreak started on June 16.


At least 43 of the 588 have died at home, and of those. 24 didn't know they had COVID at the time of death.


102 of the 588 COVID-related deaths in NSW since June 16 were people who were fully vaccinated.


The 102 deaths among people fully vaccinated were 5 people in their 50s, 6 people in their 60s, 31 people in their 70s, 34 people in their 80s, 25 people in their 90s and 1 person in their 100s. One of the those in their 80s had received their booster shot too.


The large majority of fully vaccinated people who died of COVID had underlying health issues, over half had significant health issues, almost a quarter were in palliative care, many were elderly and in aged care facilities, some had disabilities.


6.74 million of NSW's 8.2 million residents are fully vaccinated, 102 of those that were fully vaccinated have died of the virus.


There are 168 patients in hospital with COVID (was 171, 156, 150 on previous days), with 21 (24, 23, 25 on previous days) people in ICU, 9 (9, 7, 8 on previous days) of whom require ventilation.


There have been 81,193 locally acquired cases reported since June 16, when the first case in this outbreak was reported.



Vaccinated numbers - in NSW, by the end of today, December 14


16 years and over: 93.26% fully vaccinated and 94.82% first dose.


12-15 year olds: 77.89% fully vaccinated and 81.43% first dose.


16-19 year olds: 83.3% fully vaccinated and 91.5% first dose.


All 8.2 million NSW residents (aged 0 and over): 81.5% fully vaccinated and 82.2% first dose.


All 25.67 million Australian residents (aged 0 and over): 75.39% fully vaccinated and 78.99% first dose.



NSW COVID vaccination status (of cases during Delta outbreak from June 16 until December 13)


Based on NSW Health Surveillance Reports to November 27, and cases since.


588 COVID deaths: Not eligible for vaccination as aged 0-11 years (0), not vaccinated (373 people), had received 1 dose (112 people), were fully

vaccinated (102 people).


1553 in ICU: 0.9% not eligible for vaccination as aged 0-11 years, 85.6% not vaccinated, 7.8% had received 1 dose, 5.7% were fully vaccinated.


7958 hospitalised: 4.4% not eligible for vaccination as aged 0-11 years, 76.2% not vaccinated, 9.8% had received 1 dose, 9.6% were fully vaccinated.


81,193 cases: 20.1% not eligible for vaccination as aged 0-11 years, 58.6% not vaccinated, 10.1% had received 1 dose, 11.2% were fully vaccinated.



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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