NSW Covid cases soar to new record on first day of 2022
New South Wales brought in the new year with a record number of Covid-19 cases as the state continues to grapple with the Omicron outbreak.
On Saturday, NSW Health announced 22,577 new infections after 119,278 tests were carried out.
Four Covid-related deaths were also confirmed.
Across NSW, there are 901 people in hospital, with 79 patients currently in the ICU.
On Friday, there were 832 people in hospital and with 69 patients in the ICU, with NSW finishing the year with more infections in one week than it did throughout Delta-induced lockdowns.
In NSW, 93.6 per cent of the population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated, while 78.2 per cent of people aged between 12 and 15 years old have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Despite high case numbers, New Year's Eve celebrations still went ahead, with thousands flocking to see the fireworks in Sydney.
Victoria records 7442 Covid-19 infections
Victoria recorded a jump in cases on the first day of 2022, reporting 7442 Covid infections. It's a jump of more than 1500 cases on Friday's 5919 infections.
Another nine people have died with the virus.
The number of active cases reported in the most recent 24-hour reporting period sits at 24,161, and 63,026 people were tested.
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There are 98 people in intensive care, including 51 actively infectious and 21 ventilated.
In total, there are 451 people in hospital and the seven-day average hospitalisation rate sits at 406.
Definition of close contact changed
Due to huge demands for tests in the lead-up to Christmas, people were told to only seek a PCR test if they have Covid symptoms, or they are a close contact.
Close contacts and people who test positive for Covid-19 will only have to isolate for seven days, if they return a negative RAT on day six.
Following National Cabinet on Thursday, in NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, close contacts are now defined as a household contacts, or intimate contacts who spent more than four hours with a positive case.
NSW COVID-19 update – Saturday 1 January 2022
In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:
- 95% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 93.6% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/mAF34MQM5N
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 31, 2021
On Friday night, NSW Health announced asymptomatic health workers who are in isolation due to being a close contact of a positive case will be permitted to leave isolation in "exceptional circumstances".
The exemption to the public health order signed off by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard means close contacts can leave self-isolation to attend work if they have been identified by their employer as critical and cannot work from home.
The exemption only allows them to go from home to work and if they develop symptoms they have to get a PCR test and can't return to work until they test negative.
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