Omicron cases explode as NSW reports 21,151 infections on NYE

·3-min read

NSW has recorded a massive jump in new Covid-19 cases ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

On Friday NSW Health announced 21,151 new Covid-19 cases after 148,410 tests were carried out.

Six Covid-related deaths were also announced.

Across the state, there are 832 people in hospital, with 69 patients currently in the ICU. On Thursday, there were 746 people in hospital and 63 people in the ICU.

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.

NSW has updated the definition of a close contact, amid the surge in demand for Covid tests. Source: AAP
NSW has updated the definition of a close contact, amid the surge in demand for Covid tests. Source: AAP

Friday's infection numbers are a steep rise on the previous day when 12,226 new Covid cases were reported.

New Year's Eve celebrations will be going ahead in Sydney, despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, with thousands set to flock to vantage points across the city to see the fireworks.

There have been significant testing delays across the state as people sought out PCR tests in the week leading up to Christmas.

Now, NSW is asking people to only seek a PCR test if they have Covid symptoms, or they have been advised to get one as they are a close contact.

Close contact definition changed

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.

Tasmania will follow suit and adopt the definition on January 1, while the Northern Territory and Western Australia are set to make announcements soon.

If the close contact has symptoms, they will need to get a PCR test, if they are asymptomatic, they can take a rapid antigen test and if they get a positive result, they must get a PCR test.

People in NSW are now urged to only get a PCR test if they have Covid symptoms. Source: AAP
People in NSW are now urged to only get a PCR test if they have Covid symptoms. Source: AAP

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.

South Australia will continue with a 10-day quarantine period for cases and close contacts.

Premier Steven Marshall also confirmed South Australia will also deem people who have been in a setting where there is significant Covid transmission, with contact of more than 15 minutes as close contacts.

People in high risk communities or workplaces where someone has tested positive and there was more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact will also be considered close contacts.

Rapid antigen tests are still in short supply, though NSW has ordered 50 million.

On Friday, Victoria recorded 5,919 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths.

There are 428 people in hospital with Covid in Victoria and 54 active cases in the ICU, 43 people in the ICU have been cleared from the virus but remain there.

Covid cases have been steadily climbing in other jurisdictions of Australia, on Thursday, Queensland recorded 2222 new cases, ACT recorded 253, 92 in Tasmania and 1374 in South Australia.

On Thursday, South Australia announced a child under the age of two had died, after testing positive for Covid, though the cause of death is yet to be determined.

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