• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

COVID update – 111 new and 713 active Hawkesbury cases – resident positive at Hawkesbury Living

Welcome to Tuesday and the daily update of COVID numbers across our region.

All of our local COVID test centres have remained closed today or are only taking pre-bookings, with a wait until at least January 13 for most of the centres which aren’t drive-throughs.

Meanwhile, queues have formed at Hawkesbury pharmacies as people try to get hold of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

Some RATs available online are allegedly being sold at inflated prices - rampant price gouging - and the ACCC have said they will come down heavily in those instances.

Unlike in the UK or the US, where RATs are free, here we still need to pay for them, at around $16 a pop, sometimes more, and that is clearly an issue for residents who have limited resources.

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.

Today’s headlines:

* 111 new Hawkesbury COVID cases recorded in the last 24 hours.

* There are 713 active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury.

* A resident of Richmond’s Hawkesbury Living aged care home has tested positive for COVID after a test on December 30 – they’ve just got that result back, and more tests are being waited on. All residents are isolating in their rooms and there are PPE stations outside each room in the Rivera wing, where the new case has been confirmed. The March St home had at least 8 deaths attributed to it during the last wave of COVID.

* The Morrison Government was warned about the lack of rapid antigen tests (RATs) in September, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says today.

* The head of Monash University’s epidemiological modelling unit, James Trauer, believes Victoria and NSW are heading towards another lockdown to limit rising COVID case numbers, he said today.

* Australia's consumer watchdog, the ACCC, has launched an investigation into complaints of excessive prices being charged for COVID RATs. The ACCC has so far received over 120 complaints, and today issued a warning to retailers.

* Many were outraged two nights ago when they saw online retailer Kogan and Dick Smith's selling one InnoScreen RAT test for $45, a 2 pack for $85, a 5 pack for $180 and a 10 pack for $355. InnoScreen is 70% effective - the lowest rating of all RATs in Australia. Some prices online were as high as $65 per RAT.

* Big Grill Bolivar restaurant in Adelaide decided to add 'Medical Items' in their Uber Eats drop down box so you could order a single RAT for $50. So, you can order a burger, chips and a RAT test and have it delivered to your door.

* Scott Morrison will push the States at National Cabinet on Wednesday to redefine COVID hospitalisation figures reported, to either only include those hospitalised for COVID, or report them as a separate figure to those hospitalised incidentally with COVID. Around 5-12% of all hospital admissions in Australia over the last 3 weeks have been for other reasons – say, a broken leg - but these people also test positive after admission.

* Potentially COVID-positive nurses are working in NSW hospitals due to severe staffing shortages. Potentially infected nurses are being recalled from COVID isolation in breach of State health protocols and are working with healthy staff and non-COVID patients.

* Of the 23,131 local COVID cases (20,794, 18,278, 22,577, 21,151 cases on previous days) in NSW reported to 8pm, Monday, January 3 - 961 are from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which includes the Hawkesbury.

There were 83,376 COVID-19 processed tests to 8pm last night, compared with the previous days of 96,765, 90,019, 119,278, 148,410, 97,201 tests.

27.74% - over a quarter - of the 83,376 COVID tests were positive (23,131).

The positivity rates were 21.49%, 20.30%, 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 27.74% positivity rate there would be 43,066 new cases in NSW today.”

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

* 52 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)

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

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

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

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

Total active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury as of 8pm January 3 - and postcodes they are in:

* 374 in the 2756 postcode (Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce, etc) - was 328 yesterday

* 189 in the 2753 postcode (Richmond, Londonderry, Grose Vale, etc) - was 154 yesterday

* 75 in the 2758 postcode (Bilpin, East Kurrajong, etc) - was 69 yesterday

* 68 in the 2754 postcode (North Richmond, Tennyson, The Slopes) - was 61 yesterday

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

* 6 in the 2775 postcode (Lower Macdonald, St Albans) - was 5 yesterday

Hospital numbers, cases, deaths:

There are 1344 people with COVID in hospital (was 1204, 1066, 901, 832, 746 on previous days), with 105 of them in ICU (95, 83, 79, 69, 63 on previous days) and 27 (25, 24, 26, 19, 24 on previous days) on ventilators.

Previous NSW hospital peak: 1268 in hospital on 21 September 2021, with 123 on ventilators.

There were 166 people in hospital 21 days ago, 1344 today.

There were 21 people in ICU 22 days ago, 105 today.

Australian Federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sonya Bennett said today, “Evidence shows the large majority of the 185 people in ICU in Australia have the Delta variant".

That's 7 out of 105 in NSW (a low 6.6%) – so most have Omicron in our State.

NSW Health is today reporting the deaths of 2 people with COVID-19.

A man in his 90s from western Sydney died at Westmead Hospital. He was fully vaccinated.

A man in his 70s from the Newcastle area died at John Hunter Hospital. He was a resident of the Kilpatrick Court aged care facility in Toronto, where he acquired his infection. He was fully vaccinated.

There have been 623 COVID-related deaths in NSW since this Delta/Omicron outbreak started. One person has died of Omicron in NSW (and Australia) - a man in his 80s from Parramatta died on December 26. He was fully vaccinated and had underlying health conditions.

At least 43 of the 623 have died at home, and of those 24 didn't know they had COVID at the time of death.

127 of the 623 COVID-related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021 were people fully vaccinated.

The 127 deaths among people fully vaccinated were 5 people in their 50s, 6 people in their 60s, 39 people in their 70s, 44 people in their 80s, 33 people in their 90s and 1 person in their 100s. *Two people in their 80s and two people in their 90s had received their booster shots.

The large majority of the people that were fully vaccinated and 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.

There have been 265,997 locally acquired cases reported since 16 June 2021, when the first case in this outbreak was reported.

Australia records 47,808 cases after 37,215, 35,278, 32,946, 21,151, 18,242, 18,192, 11,102 on previous days. On December 9, 2021 Australia recorded 1651 new cases.

How we compare today:

NSW - 23,131 new cases, 157,873 active, 1344 in hospital (+140) and 105 in ICU (+10) plus 2 deaths - 27.74% positive rate

VIC - 14,020 new cases, 48,297 active, 516 in hospital (+25) and 56 in ICU (+0) plus 2 deaths - 23.17% positive rate

QLD - 5699 new cases - 25,924 active, 170 in hospital (+23) and 11 in ICU (+1) - 17.11% positive rate

SA - 3246 new cases - 16,622 active, 102 in hospital (+8) and 12 in ICU (+3) - 15.56% positive rate

ACT - 926 new cases - 2789 active, 13 in hospital (+2) and 1 in ICU (-1) - 20.99% positive rate

TAS - 702 new cases - 2244 active, 3 in hospital (+1) and 0 in ICU (0) - 33.62% positive rate

NT - 75 new cases - 526 active, 177 in hospital (+2) and 0 in ICU (0) - 2.88% positive rate

WA - 9 new cases - 54 active, 0 in hospital (0) and 0 in ICU (0)

Australia - 47,808 new cases, 254,329 active, 2,360 in hospital, 185 in ICU, 55 on a ventilator.

Big thanks to Kevin Pollard for the research and crunching the numbers.

Our source information - link to NSW Health figures:


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