• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

COVID update – 100 new and 532 active Hawkesbury cases - NSW hospital cases rise by 165 in 24 hours



Welcome to Sunday and our daily update of COVID numbers across our region. Our good friend Kevin Pollard has once again crunched the day’s numbers so we’ve got an excellent overview here of the Hawkesbury situation, and further afield too, giving our readers a detailed picture.

Kevin has also put together information on hospital numbers and news about developments as the Omicron and Delta variants continue to spread. All of our local COVID test centres remain closed until Tuesday.


It’s possible the Clarendon test centre at Hawkesbury Showground and Windsor’s Day St testing centres will not reopen on Tuesday, as planned, following a post today by Clinical Labs NSW on their website which said their 31 privately-run drive through COVID testing sites, except for Bella Vista (for international flights only), have closed indefinitely – their test centres include Clarendon and Day St in the Hawkesbury.


We’ve attempted to confirm this with Clinical Labs NSW today and we’re waiting for a reply from their media people. It’s possible the “indefinite closure” could be only until Tuesday – and just to add confusion, on another part of their website it says Clarendon (no info on Day St) will reopen on Tuesday - so more on this as we get it.


Today’s headlines:


* 100 new Hawkesbury cases of COVID reported in the last 24 hours, after previous days’ numbers - 135, 104, 69, 41, 26, 26, 20, 14, 14.


* There are 532 active COVID cases across the Hawkesbury.

* At the current growth rate of cases, we’ll likely reach peak pandemic hospitalisation rates in NSW by January 5, and peak pandemic ICU rates by January 16 - in other words, numbers over and above the worst figures during the whole COVID event.


* There are 1066 people with COVID in hospital across NSW – that’s up 165 in the last 24 hours.


* There were 90,019 COVID-19 processed tests across NSW to 8pm last night, compared with the previous days of 119,278, 148,410, 97,201, 157,758 tests.


* 20.30% of the 90,019 COVID-19 tests were positive (18,278). The positivity rates were 18.93%, 14.25%, 12.58%, 7.10% on previous days.


Kevin says, “if there were the same amount of tests processed today as there were between December 21-24 and on December 28 and December 30 (average was 155,247 per day over these 6 days) and with the 20.30% positivity rate, there would be 31,518 new cases in NSW today.”


The WHO says a rate of 5% and below is one indicator that transmission is under control. The higher the rate climbs, the greater the extent of undetected spread.


Experts predict case numbers could reach 100,000 a day in NSW, and medical professionals warn of a “widespread staffing crisis”.


Professor Adrian Esterman, who is an epidemiologist, Chair of Biostatistics at the University of Adelaide, and a staff member at the WHO for 7 years, said he expected the NSW government would be forced to reintroduce additional measures to subdue the soaring caseload, or the hospital system would become overwhelmed.


“Even though the Omicron COVID patients are not as sick as they were with Delta and there are less in ICU, they’re still taking up beds, they still need nurses to look after them,” he said.


Infectious diseases expert Professor Raina MacIntyre – she’s Professor of Global Biosecurity at UNSW and an expert on adult vaccination - says achieving herd immunity by infection is a fallacy because it would only enable the evolution of new variants that will then cause more infections.


"It's a very chaotic response and it's not really based on public health principles. NSW adopting the "let it rip" strategy amid a major Omicron surge is irresponsible," she says.


Most countries have reintroduced COVID restrictions as a response to Omicron, while many states in Australia - including NSW - have relaxed a good percentage of them.


If you’ve been exposed to a person who tested positive but you don’t have symptoms, a good quality rapid antigen test (RAT) used four to five days after exposure can give you an indication (70% chance) of whether you've caught Omicron.


RATs have low sensitivity to Omicron and are more likely to show positive when symptoms are strong (days 3-4). So in early Omicron infections (days 1-2) and at the end (days 5-8) you're quite likely to get a negative result with poor quality RATs.


For good quality RATs, the first test should be at least 72 hours after exposure, as symptoms are normally 4-5 days after exposure. Good quality RATs are better at picking up Omicron when symptoms are strong (70% chance). RATs are more accurate if it's Delta.



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


* 55 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)


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


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

* 6 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes)


* 1 in the 2757 postcode (Kurmond)



Total active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury as of 8pm January 1 - and postcodes they are in:


* 290 in the 2756 postcode (Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce, etc) - was 241 yesterday


* 127 in the 2753 postcode (Richmond, Londonderry, Grose Vale, etc) - was 105 yesterday


* 56 in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong, etc) - was 45 yesterday


* 52 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes) - was 48 yesterday


* 7 in the 2757 postcode (Kurmond) - was 6 yesterday

* 1 in the 2775 postcode (Lower Macdonald, St Albans) - was 1 yesterday



Hospital numbers and cases


There are 1066 people with COVID in hospital (was 901, 832, 746, 625, 557 on previous days) with 83 in ICU (79, 69, 63, 61, 60 on previous days) 24 of whom are on ventilators (26, 19, 24, 23, 19 on previous days).


There were 166 people in hospital 19 days ago, 1066 today.


There were 21 people in ICU 20 days ago, 83 today.


NSW peaks: 1268 in hospital on 21 September 2021 and 242 in ICU on 21 September 2021, so ICU numbers are currently still lower than in the earlier wave.


“Remember, hospital and ICU figures from NSW Health do not include the thousands in virtual care or hospital-in-the-home care pathways, nor do they include the huge load presenting to Emergency Departments, GPs, or the ambulance service.”


“There are around 16,000 patients in NSW hospital-in-the-home care pathways, that are not counted in the daily published data,” says Kevin.


7 of those 83 in ICU in NSW have the Omicron variant, 76 have Delta.


48 of the 83 (57.8%) are unvaccinated including two children under 12 who aren't eligible for the vaccine due to age.


35 of the 83 (42.1%) in ICU are fully vaccinated. The large majority of the 83 in ICU have underlying health issues.




Big thanks to Kevin Pollard for the research and 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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