• Kevin Pollard & Tony Bosworth

COVID update – our cases soar - 222 new and 906 active Hawkesbury cases – no local test centres open

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

All of our local COVID test centres have remained closed again 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.

Whatever the reason for no open Hawkesbury test centres – and there’s no news on when they will reopen, indeed if they do - we’ve seen an exact doubling of new Hawkesbury COVID cases in the last 24 hours – some 222 today after 111 new ones yesterday.

We still haven’t heard from Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston, though she is on holiday until this coming Monday.

We’ve asked the MP why there are no test centres open for Hawkesbury residents.

She made a brief appearance online 15 hours ago with a Facebook post saying a centre at Emerton was open…not too surprisingly most online comments were not positive...

Six days ago Ms Preston said on her Facebook page she was “waiting for an update from [Health] Minister Hazzard on the gap in opening times”.

There has been no update from the MP since then about the Hawkesbury test centre situation or about the response - or even if she got one - from the Health Minister.

In her Facebook post today Ms Preston said, “The demand for COVID testing at clinics around NSW, not just in Hawkesbury, has placed added pressure on laboratories who are trying to turn around test results as soon as possible.”

It makes you wonder how long it is taking to turn them around given the Hawkesbury sites have been closed for at least a week.

Meanwhile, 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:

* 222 new COVID cases reported in the Hawkesbury in the last 24 hours - 138 are linked, so 84 with no known source.

* There are 906 active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury

* Previous days’ new cases in the Hawkesbury - 111, 106, 100, 135, 104, 69, 41, 26, 26.

* In the last 24 hours, there have been another 35,054 NSW cases reported (23,131, 20,794, 18,278, 22,577 cases on previous days) in NSW to 8pm, Tuesday, January 4 – with 1562 from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, which includes the Hawkesbury.

* Cases across NSW over the last 4 weeks have been approximately 80% Omicron and 20% of the more dangerous Delta.

* Almost 90% of all 200 people in ICU across Australia have Delta.

* There are over 3000 people in hospital across Australia with COVID, and it's about 75% Delta, 25% Omicron.

* Most in hospital with COVID across Australia are over 18, though there are at least 8 aged under 18 in ICU nationwide.

* 9 out of 119 people in ICU in NSW have the Omicron variant – the bulk have the more dangerous Delta.

* There were 108,844 NSW COVID-processed tests to 8pm last night, compared with the previous days of 83,376, 96,765, 90,019, 119,278, 148,410 tests.

* 32.21% of the 108,844 COVID-19 tests were positive (35,054).

* The positivity rate on previous days was 27.74%, 21.49%, 20.30%, 18.93%, 14.25%, so rising every day as the virus spreads rapidly.

* Kevin says, “If there were the same amount of tests processed today as there were when it was easier to get a test between December 21-24 plus on December 28 and December 30 when people were desperate (average was 155,247 per day over these 6 days) and with the 32.21% positivity rate there would be 50,015 new cases in NSW today.”

* The TGA have said retailers should not be splitting up RAT kits: “All rapid antigen self-tests should be in the original approved packaging … the best assurance that the COVID-19 self-test kits they purchase will work properly is to only purchase products in their original packaging. If test packs are divided and repackaged, it is possible that the test will not work properly if all components are not included or the correct instructions are not provided. If the packaging around the test kit has been damaged, or the test is exposed to excessive light or heat, it may not work properly.”

* RATs are only 70-80% effective in the first place, and struggle to detect Omicron when people aren't experiencing strong symptoms .

* The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is calling for chemists to limit how many rapid antigen tests can be purchased per person to avoid stockpiling.

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

* 104 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)

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

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

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

* 3 in the 2757 postcode (Kurmond)

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

Total active COVID cases in the Hawkesbury as of 8pm January 4 - and postcodes they are in:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hospital numbers, cases, deaths, and vaccination status:

Current COVID cases in hospital in NSW, ICU and on a ventilator, plus vaxx status:

1491 people with COVID are in NSW hospitals today (was 1344, 1204, 1066, 901, 832 on previous days)

68.6% are fully or triple vaccinated, 2.7% one dose, 28.8% not vaccinated.

Of the 119 people in ICU today (105, 95, 83, 79, 69 on previous days) 50.9% are fully or triple vaccinated, 1.2% one dose, 47.9% not vaccinated.

Of the 32 on ventilators (27, 25, 24, 26, 19 on previous days) - 50.9% are fully or triple vaccinated, 1.2% one dose, 47.9% not vaccinated.

There were 166 people in hospital 21 days ago - 1491 today.

There were 21 people in ICU 22 days ago - 119 today.

There were 7 on ventilator 21 days ago - 32 today.

NSW previous pandemic peaks: 1268 in hospital on 21 September 2021, with 242 in ICU and 123 on ventilators.

NSW Health is today reporting the deaths of 8 people with COVID-19 - the highest daily death toll in NSW since 17 October 2021 when 10 new deaths were reported.

One person was in their 90s, two people in their 80s, two in their 70s, two in their 60s, and one person in their 50s.

6 people were fully vaccinated including 1 person who was triple vaccinated and two people were not vaccinated.

A man in his 90s died at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital. He was a resident of the Coffs Harbour Grange Aged Care Facility. He was fully vaccinated.

A woman in her 80s died at Gosford Hospital where she acquired her infection. She was fully vaccinated.

A man in his 70s died at the Bupa Aged Care Facility in Ballina. He was not vaccinated.

There have been 631 COVID-19 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 631 have died at home and 24 of them didn't know they had Covid at the time of death.

132 of the 631 COVID-related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021 were fully vaccinated.

The 132 deaths among people fully vaccinated were 5 people in their 50s, 6 people in their 60s, 41 people in their 70s, 46 people in their 80s, 34 people in their 90s and 1 person in their 100s. *Two people in their 80s and three 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. Being fully vaccinated has saved 1000s and 1000s of lives in NSW over the last 9 months and will continue to save lives.

How we compare internationally:

* UK reports 218,724 new COVID cases, the biggest one-day increase on record. The previous record was 188,508 on December 31, 2021.

* France reports 271,686 new COVID cases, the biggest one-day increase on record. The previous record was 232,200 on December 31, 2021.

* Italy reports 170,844 new COVID cases, the biggest one-day increase on record. The previous record was 144,237 on December 31, 2021.

* India reports 58,097 new COVID cases, an increase of 532% from last week and highest daily COVID cases since June 19, 2021. Delhi announces lockdown.

* Australia records 64,763 cases after 47,808, 37,215, 35,278, 32,946, 21,151, 18,242, 18,192 on previous days. On December 9, 2021 Australia recorded 1,651 new cases.


NSW - 35,054 new cases, 184,413 active, 1,491 in hospital (+147) and 119 in ICU (+14) plus 8 deaths - 32.31% positive rate

VIC - 17,636 new cases, 51,317 active, 591 in hospital (+75) and 53 in ICU (-3) plus 11 deaths - 29.55% positive rate

QLD - 6,781 new cases - 32,312 active, 275 in hospital (+70) and 10 in ICU (-1) - 23.05% positive rate

SA - 3,493 new cases - 16,622 active, 125 in hospital (+23) and 12 in ICU (+0) - 16.56% positive rate

TAS - 867 new cases - 3,118 active, 5 in hospital (+2) and 0 in ICU (0) - 35.95% positive rate

ACT - 810 new cases - 3,069 active, 16 in hospital (+3) and 1 in ICU (-1) - 23.19% positive rate

NT - 117 new cases - 606 active, 147 in hospital (+2) and 0 in ICU (0) - 5.46% positive rate

WA - 5 new cases - 57 active, 0 in hospital (0) and 0 in ICU (0)

Australia - 64,763 new cases, 291,338 active, 3,001 in hospital (+319), 196 in ICU (+11), 56 on a ventilator (+1).

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

Our source information - link to NSW Health figures:


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