• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

COVID update – 104 new and 324 active Hawkesbury cases – death of Fitzgerald aged care resident



Welcome to New Year’s Eve – it’s Friday, if like us you sometimes lose track at the moment – and here we are with the latest local news on the COVID situation in the Hawkesbury.


Sadly, there was the death of an 87-year-old lady at Nepean Hospital overnight, with the cause of death down as COVID, and announced by NSW Health this morning. She was a resident at Windsor’s Fitzgerald aged care home and NSW Health say that is where she picked up COVID.


Given all but one of the Hawkesbury’s test centres are closed until this coming Tuesday, January 4, we can reasonably expect much higher numbers as we move into next week. 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 wider afield too. He's also researched and put the news snippets together to give us a well-rounded overview, both locally and globally. Thanks to Kevin for all his hard work.


One point we’d like to make – we’re covering this wave of COVID because we cover news. We give you the facts, including numbers. Some people would rather we don’t do this – they call it amongst other things, ‘scaremongering’, ‘hype’ and ‘focusing on new cases’.


We call it news. If you don’t want to read it, and be kept up to date with what’s happening in our backyard, please just scroll on by.


Now, to business…



Today's Hawkesbury headlines:


* 104 new recorded COVID cases in the Hawkesbury in the last 24 hours - 62 are linked, which means 42 have no known source.

* There are 324 active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury.

* The largest single increase in cases today in our area with 58 new COVID cases is 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).


* Of the 21,151 new NSW cases today (12,226, 11,201, 6,062, 6,324 cases on previous days) reported to 8pm, Thursday, December 30 – 677 are from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which includes the Hawkesbury.



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

* 58 in the 2756 postcode (Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce, etc)


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

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

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



Total active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury as of 8pm December 30 - and postcodes they are in:


* 180 in the 2756 postcode (Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce, etc) - was 131 yesterday


* 73 in the 2753 postcode (Richmond, Londonderry, Grose Vale, etc) - was 53 yesterday


* 34 in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong, etc) - was 25 yesterday


* 32 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes) - was 25 yesterday


* 5 in the 2757 postcode (Kurmond) - was 5 yesterday


* 1 in the 2775 postcode (Lower Macdonald, St Albans) - was 2 yesterday



Hospital numbers and cases:


* There are 832 people with COVID in hospital (was 746, 625, 557, 520, 458 on previous days) 69 are in ICU (63, 61, 60, 55 on previous days) with 19 (24, 23, 19, 17 on previous days) on ventilators.


* There were 166 people in hospital 17 days ago, 832 today.


* There were 21 people in ICU 18 days ago, 69 today.


* 6 of those 69 in ICU have the Omicron variant, 63 have Delta.


* 39 of 69 (56.5%) are unvaccinated, including three children under 12 that aren't eligible.


* 30 of the 69 (43.5%) in ICU are fully vaccinated. The large majority of the 69 in ICU have underlying health issues.


* Premier Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard have both said many times over the last week that the 'majority of those in ICU are not vaccinated'. 56.5% is only just the majority, and children under 12 aren't eligible for the jab.


* 48% of all Australians have one or more chronic health issues. In those aged under 18, that number is 42%, mainly asthma and respiratory illnesses. That’s about 10-12 million people.


* On the figures, Omicron could overwhelm the health system from ER visits and hospitalisation long before ICU admissions.


* Approximately 5.5% (91) of all 1642 people in hospital with COVID in Australia have Omicron. Many are in NSW.


* 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. In VIC it's 40% Omicron.


* Some 14.25% of tests turned out positive in the last 24 hours. The positivity rates were 12.58%, 7.10%, 6.48%, 6.50% on previous days.


* The very high positivity rate today suggests that significant numbers of cases are not being detected in the community, as rapid antigen tests are not included in NSW testing numbers, PCR testing queues are up to 8 hours long, 77% of 490 NSW testing sites are closed or operating on reduced hours between December 25 and January 2, not everyone will/can PCR test so real numbers today are likely to be approximately 30,000 positive cases and between 7000 and 30,000 new cases each day over the last 10 days.


* Dr Kerry Chant said again today it's likely the actual numbers of COVID cases are much higher than reported, due to delays in testing results and other factors.


* Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are still very difficult to access in NSW and VIC and won't be freely available until early February - 5 weeks from now.


* There are 89,418 active COVID cases (was 70,928 yesterday) in NSW.


* There were 6 COVID deaths in NSW today, including the 87-year-old woman, a resident at Windsor’s Fitzgerald aged care home who died at Nepean Hospital. She acquired her infection at the home, according to NSW Health. She was fully vaccinated.


Australia has fastest growing Omicron outbreak - New York Times


National Cabinet has amended its new COVID rules, removing the requirement for confirmed COVID cases in isolation to do a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on the sixth day after they were exposed. It means there is no obligation to return a negative test before ending isolation on day 7. This does not apply to close contacts.


“This change is most likely because we don't have anywhere near enough RATs,” says Kevin Pollard.


“It seems like all the hard work we’ve done over the past two years has just evaporated in the last two weeks. It's apparent most states are aiming for Omicron herd immunity although the far more deadlier Delta is still circulating in large numbers,” he points out.


The New York Times is reporting Australia has the fastest growing COVID outbreak in the world right now. Omicron is spreading nearly two times faster than in Denmark (where cases are very high) - and nearly four times faster than in the UK.


The number in hospital across Australia is today the highest it's ever been during the COVID outbreak and has more than doubled in the last 12 days. However, those in ICU has increased by only 15% and those on a ventilator has dropped by 20% in that time.


America's CDC forecasts up to 60,000 new COVID deaths in the next four weeks in the US.


US reports a pandemic world record 587,564 new cases plus 1407 new deaths. The previous pandemic record was 484,377 new cases yesterday.


UK reports a pandemic record 189,213 new COVID cases. The previous pandemic record was 183,037 cases yesterday.


Italy reports a pandemic record 126,888 new COVID cases. Previous pandemic record was 98,030 cases yesterday.


Spain reports a pandemic record 161,688 new COVID cases. Previous pandemic record was 100,760 cases yesterday.


Portugal reports a pandemic record 28,659 new COVID cases. Previous pandemic record was 26,867 new cases yesterday.


Greece reports pandemic record 35,580 new COVID cases. Previous pandemic record was 28,828 new cases yesterday.


Austria has made COVID vaccines compulsory, saying it will apply to people aged 14 and over who will be fined 3600 euros ($5620 AUD) every 3 months if not vaccinated.


Australia has recorded another pandemic high of 32,946 cases after 21,342 cases yesterday. Only 22 days ago on December 9, Australia recorded 1,651 new local cases.




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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