NSW has recorded another eye-watering tally of daily Covid infections with 63,000 new cases reported on Friday and 29 Covid-related deaths.
It comes after the state activated its reporting system for residents to register their positive rapid antigen test with the state government. Following the change, NSW reported more than 92,000 cases on Thursday, including a backlog with some dating back to January 1.
Of the 63,018 infections reported by NSW Health on Friday morning, 37,938 were from home rapid tests and 25,080 were detected via state-run PCR tests.
Despite ongoing shortages of available rapid tests, NSW Health cautioned some in the latest case tally were the same positive cases reported numerous times from multiple rapid antigen tests and PCR tests.
The state notched another record for daily Covid deaths with 29 lives lost, eclipsing the previous record of 22 set just yesterday.
Of the latest deaths,"three were in their 40s, five in their 60s, five were in their 70s, 11 were in their 80s and five in their 90s," chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters on Friday.
"In terms of the people in their 40s, two were vaccinated with two doses of vaccine," she said. One had underlying health conditions.
"We will see deaths in people who are fully vaccinated," Dr Chant said.
There are 2,525 people currently in a NSW hospital with Covid and 184 in intensive care.
NSW close to Omicron peak, CMO says
Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, says coronavirus case numbers in the state are close to peaking.
"New South Wales is a bit ahead of the other states and that's not surprising, they started earlier, but they are close to peaking if not already," he said.
"The other states are a little bit further behind that but I think end of January, early February is probably where we will see a change."
Prof Kelly said other places around the world have seen huge surges in cases from the Omicron variant, before reaching their peak and starting to come down in a short period of time – a scenario the federal government increasingly expects to play out in Australia.
Victoria records 18 new Covid deaths
Victoria has recorded 34,836 new Covid-19 cases and 18 deaths, as questions linger about rapid test supply to allow more workers to be freed from isolation.
The new infections include 15,440 from rapid antigen tests and 19,396 from PCR tests, the health department confirmed on Friday.
There are a record 976 patients in hospital, up 23 from Thursday, including 112 in intensive care of which 30 require ventilators.
It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the list of workers exempt from isolating as close contacts will be broadened from midnight on Tuesday, to include those in emergency services, education, critical utilities, custodial facilities, transport and freight.
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