COVID-19

States record nearly 100K new Covid cases

NSW has recorded 48,768 new Covid-19 infections and 20 deaths on Saturday. There are 2576 people in hospital with the virus, with 193 in intensive care, with both figures up on the previous day.It came as 63,018 new cases were reported on Friday, on what was a record day of Covid-related deaths, with 24 lives lost.While the state’s health system is “feeling the strain” from Omicron, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet insists it will not buckle under the pressure. “The health system is under pressure in this state, just like right around the country and right around the world as we move through this pandemic,” Mr Perrottet said. “It is going to be a difficult few weeks ahead but the tracking that we are releasing is very reassuring and encouraging given where we sit today in the pandemic.”Chief health officer Kerry Chant also warned about four million people would catch the virus before the ongoing wave subsided.Meantime, Victoria recorded 25,526 new Covid cases and 23 deaths. There are now 1054 people hospitalised, with 115 in intensive care and 30 on ventilators.The new cases have notched up the number of total active infections to 227,105.On Friday, 34,836 cases and 18 deaths were reported. Hotels once used to quarantine Victoria’s returning travellers will soon be used to house infected patients to try free up hospital beds.Deputy Premier James Merlino confirmed The Pullman on Swanston St and The Mantra in Epping would become the first “medi-hotels” for recovering Covid patients.He said patients nearing the end of their hospital stay and who needed a lower level of care would be transferred to complete their treatment in the hotels.“This will alleviate some of the pressure on our hospitals, moving some patients out of the hospital system who can otherwise be cared for in a medi-hotel,” Mr Merlino said. The two hotels will take the first patients from Monday and are expected to have the capacity to care for more than 300 patients at a time, once the operation is fully functional.In Queensland, there were 19,709 new infections and six deaths in that past 24 hours, including one person aged in their 20s. It brings the total number of active cases to more than 180,000. There are now 649 infected people in hospital with 46 in intensive care and 14 on a ventilator. Of the six people who died, one was aged in their 20s, one in their 70s, two were in their 80s and two were in their 90s. Chief health officer John Gerrard said all of them had “significant” underlying medical problems. He urged all residents to assume they “very likely” had Covid-19 if they had any associated symptoms as the state heads toward its peak. “We would like you to get tested with a PCR test or rapid antigen test if possible, but if for whatever reason you find that difficult, you should assume you have Covid and isolate,” Dr Gerrard said.The state reported a record 23,630 new infections and three deaths on Friday.The figures come as the state officially opened its domestic borders, removing all restrictions on interstate travel. Border applications and negative rapid antigen tests are no longer required to enter Queensland from hotspot areas.“The Omicron variant is widespread in Queensland and the rest of the country,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “Now we’ve had a chance to get our vaccination rates up, this is the right time.”More than 91 per cent of residents have had at least one dose while 88.5 per cent have had both. DEADLIEST DAY It came after NSW reported 63,018 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 37,938 that were detected via rapid antigen test results.A record 29 deaths were been confirmed in the reporting period, making Friday the deadliest day of the pandemic in NSW so far.There are 2525 people in hospital with the virus, with 184 of those in intensive care, up from 2383 and 182 respectively on Wednesday.Of the new cases, NSW Health said 37,938 were detected on rapid antigen tests (RATs), with 24,329 of these positive tests from the previous seven days.There were 25,080 positive cases from PCR tests.It comes after Covid-19 cases surged on Thursday with 82,000 rapid tests from the last 12 days included in the tally.The state government has made it mandatory for residents to report their rapid tests or face a $1000 fine, which will come into force from next week.Almost 14,000 people reported their results through the Service NSW app within two hours of the online portal being launched at 9am on Wednesday.NSW Health authorities have blasted Hillsong megachurch after a youth summer camp underway in Newcastle was found breaching strict public health orders, with hundreds of young people singing and dancing massless despite a statewide ban.The state outlawed dancing and singing at nightclubs, pubs, bars and entertainment facilities amid a spike in Covid-19 infections across the state, but churches were allowed to go ahead with large religious gatherings.Footage emerged from Hillsong’s youth “Wildlife Summercamp 2022” on Thursday, which showed young people in a large crowd singing and dancing, with some shirtless or on each other’s shoulders while top-40 music plays loudly.Hillsong has defended itself, saying the event was following “strict Covid procedures and adhering to government guidelines”.Health Minister Brad Hazzard released a statement on Thursday saying Hillsong had been told to “immediately stop singing and dancing” at the youth camp event.“While the (Public Health) Order does not apply to religious services, it does apply to major recreation facilities, and this event is clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the Order, which is in place to keep the community safe,” Mr Hazzard said.SA HAS 5679 CASESSouth Australian Premier Steven Marshall says the state could reach its peak as “early as tomorrow” as another 5,679 new cases were recorded.Another six deaths were also recorded.Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr Marshall urged people to treat the new cases with “caution” as part of them were a “catch-up” from test swabs being taken later in the day due to hot weather and responses from rapid antigen tests.“The modelling provides the peak could be reached as early as tomorrow,” he said.“I think we’re very close, I’ve said for several days it will occur in the third or fourth week.”Of the new cases, some 246 people are in hospital, 20 are in intensive care. Eight people in ICU are on ventilators.Mr Marshall said the state’s new restrictions in December last year were critical in helping South Australia prepare for its coming Omicron peak.Modelling from the government predicts the state will record a median number of 5,800 daily new cases from the end of January.“We don’t want to leave one restriction in place for a single day longer than we need to … but if we didn’t take action, we’d be in a very different situation,” he said.“I know those restrictions are extraordinarily difficult for many people.“We believe we’ve been able to chart the optimal course through Omicron and we will been able to get to this peak and over it in a short period of time.”On Thursday, health authorities announced students would return to school on February 2 but classes would run in a “hybrid” model of face-to-face learning and online classes.Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said assemblies and events where lots of children would come together would be postponed when school resumes.Inter-school sports will also be delayed but children will be able to remove masks when they play.

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