COVID-19 Cases Climb In Hunter

 

AS restrictions ease and masks and QR code check-ins are no longer mandatory in many settings, Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Government’s Chief Health Officer, is urging the community to continue masking up.

In Newcastle and the Hunter, COVID-19 cases continue to trend upwards.

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On Friday 18 December there were 899 new COVID-19 cases in the Hunter New England Health area, 54 of these were in Port Stephens and 10 were from the MidCoast Council local government areas.

A staggering 418 were from Newcastle.

Of the 3013 active cases in the Hunter New England Health area, 13 were receiving care in our hospitals and two were in ICU.

As case numbers hit new highs, the number of cases requiring hospitalisation at this stage is still relatively low.

By Monday 20 December these numbers had grown to 4368 active COVID-19 cases in the Hunter New England Health area.

Of the 660 new cases, 16 of these were in Port Stephens LGA and 1 was from the MidCoast LGA.

This growth in numbers is being attributed to the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

While officials are urging the community to get tested if they experience even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms there is a lack of testing facilities with people reporting that they have been turned away even after long waits for tests in the Nelson Bay area.

Regis Port Stephens Nursing Home in Salamander Bay has gone into lockdown after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 earlier last week.

In the last week of a highly disrupted school year, students and staff from both Irrawang High School and Wirreanda Public School were plunged into isolation and the schools closed after members of their communities tested positive.

Yet in shopping centres many are choosing not to wear masks and there are grim predictions of 25,000 cases a day by the end of January.

Hunter New England Health stated, “We urge anyone who is yet to receive their vaccination to do so and book in for a booster if eligible.

“We also strongly encourage the community to continue to wear masks in high-density settings and socially distance.”

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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