COVID-19

‘We’re all going to get Omicron’: NSW Health Minister

“We’re all going to get Omicron … (but) Omicron is not as severe in terms of its impact on individuals,” Mr Hazzard said.“The unvaccinated are taking more places than they should be in our ICUs simply because they’ve chosen not to be vaccinated.“Those who make the choice not to get vaccinated are putting themselves and our health staff at risk.”There are 458 people in hospital with the virus, with 52 of those in intensive care.There were 109,545 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Christmas Day despite major queues and reports that some people were turned away.On Christmas eve, NSW hit the milestone of 95 per cent of those over 16 having at least one dose of Covid vaccine. Premier Dominic Perrottet said this was not just a very high rate of vaccination compared with the rest of the country, but compared to the rest of the world.Mr Hazzard said he now wanted to get the younger age groups, those aged under 16 years, to get vaccinated at high levels to match the booming immunisation rate among adults. Amid balloon wait times for Covid testing and result, the Premier urged people to only get Covid tests if they had symptoms or needed the results for interstate travel.He said a test was not necessary when people received a text warning of a contact — only if they had symptoms.Mr Hazzard also urged people to get rapid tests over PCR tests when visiting elderly relatives, arguing that waiting for three to four days to get your results before seeing a relative made them less accurate.The Health Minister admited the system was “under enormous pressure and not in a position to communicate with all positive cases.He said COVID positive cases do not get a text from NSW Health on Day 10 — and do not have symptoms — then they can leave their home.Premier Dominic Perrottet has thanked thousands of NSW residents who spent Christmas alone as the state’s Omicron cases continue to grow.Mr Perrottet said “more sacrifices would need to be made” going forward despite NSW hitting 95 per cent first dose vaccination on Christmas Eve. “The numbers don’t lie. Please go and get vaccinated … please if you are eligible, go and get that booster shot,” he said. “I’m due for my booster shot and I’ll be going out and getting it today.” Mr Perrottet said testing numbers remained “incredibly strong” but reiterated that people without symptoms or directions to get tested should refrain from using PCR tests. “What we can’t have is people sitting in testing queues which takes away from people who are unwell,” he said. “I want to thank everybody for their patience. I know there are long queues.”Mr Perrottet said advice from NSW Health had dictated further changes for QR codes starting from tomorrow. People will need to check into any retail shopping centres they are going to but will not need to check into individual shops. The high Covid figures come after NSW state set a previous record of 6288 infections on Christmas, up from 5612 infections on Friday.Large crowds gathered at beaches for Christmas to beat the heat and ahead of celebrations for New Year’s Eve.There were also issues with testing queues with Randwick’s mayor speaking out about reports he had heard that clinics were in meltdown.NED-5192-DT-App-Banner

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