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NSW COVID-19 cases surge to record high of 11,201 with New Year’s Eve in sight

NSW COVID-19 cases have almost doubled overnight, setting a new record high of 11,201 as the state battles the Omicron variant.

Despite premier Dominic Perrottet assuring NSW we’re in a “strong position”, NSW COVID-19 case numbers have surged to 11,201 with two days left in 2021.

Yesterday’s case numbers were 6,062. 625 people are also in hospital with COVID-19 related issues, up from yesterday’s 557.

Like other regions around Australia and the world, NSW is battling the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. The current outbreak occurred as many of the state’s final restrictions including QR code check-ins and indoor mask mandates were removed on December 15th.

As case numbers continued to surge in the lead-up to Christmas, premier Perrottet reintroduced mask mandates for indoor settings, as well as density limits in venues.

Rising case numbers have also begun to strain the pathology centres around NSW responsible for providing free PCR tests to the population. Citizens have been experiencing queues of up to six hours at said centres, and many people who got tested before Christmas are still yet to receive their results. Closures over the holiday period and reductions in staff caused by isolating healthcare workers have not helped the situation.

Due to these delays in results, it’s assumed that a number of positive cases far beyond what’s reported by NSW Health could be active in the community. These new cases could date as far back as December 22nd or 23rd, meaning that there has been several more days’ worth of PCR tests waiting to be confirmed as positive or negative.

nsw covid-19 dominic perrottet

The good news? NSW Health has said that of the 625 cases currently in hospital, most have not received two full doses of the vaccine. Currently, 93.5% of the NSW population over 16 years old has received two doses, and at this stage, it appears the Omicron variant is far less likely to cause serious health issues for the fully vaccinated.

Attention is now turning to New Year’s Eve in Sydney, and voices around the state are debating whether or not restrictions will be placed around what is usually massive cultural celebration in the city.

Currently, the City of Sydney is proceeding with ticketed spots to certain harbourside settings in order to safely manage numbers in what are classically the more popular viewing locations of the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge. What will or won’t happen ahead of December 31st isn’t yet clear, with parties calling for a total lockdown, the reintroduction of some mandates, and everything in between.

But hey, if you’re feeling a little uncertain about it all, please enjoy an on-brand, poorly timed holiday message from our Prime Minister: how good is the cricket?