On Boxing Day, New South Wales recorded 6,394 new infections and 458 hospital cases, with the health minister warning that “we’re all going to get Omicron” and the national number approaching 10,000 cases.
The number of cases in NSW has risen somewhat from the already high levels recorded on Christmas Day.
“We anticipate that almost everyone in NSW will receive Omicron at some stage… “And if we’re all going to acquire Omicron, the best way to deal with it is to have all of our vaccines up to date, including our booster,” Brad Hazzard said.
“The problem for us as a state is to ensure that our health-care system is prepared to deal with that incoming, highly transmissible virus.”
2,000 health workers have been furloughed across the state, forcing Hazzard to advise citizens to “consider carefully” before calling an ambulance or going to the hospital, citing the “enormous pressure” on the system.
It comes as St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney was compelled to make an apology on Sunday afternoon after incorrectly alerting 400 people that they had tested negative for Covid-19 the night before, when they had really tested positive.
Prof Anthony Dodds, SydPath’s medical director, said the issue was likely due to “human error,” and that those impacted were being notified.
“Due to the enormous volume of testing we’ve been dealing with, we sent out an inaccurate message yesterday night to 400 patients who had been swabbed at our centres between December 22 and December 23, informing them that they had tested negative for Covid,” he said.
“These individuals had in reality tested positive for Covid. SydPath began a process to contact these individuals as soon as we became aware of the problem this morning. The reason of this error is now being investigated by an emergency response team.”
NSW Health has yet to clarify whether this will bring the daily case count in the state to 6,794.
Queensland has seen 714 new cases, a daily high for the state, with seven people admitted to hospitals and none in intensive care.
In response to the 774 new cases of Covid reported in South Australia, the state has strengthened public health and social restrictions.
Effective immediately, gyms will be limited to one person per seven square metres. Indoor dining densities will be limited to one person per four square metres beginning at midnight.
Home gatherings will be limited to a maximum of ten individuals.
On the 28th of December, the state was expected to loosen restrictions even more. For interstate arrivals, PCR tests will no longer be required.
With 1,608 new Covid-19 infections reported daily, including 374 in hospitals, Victoria reported a modest drop in daily case numbers.
The Australian Capital Territory has identified 71 new cases, with only one of them requiring hospitalisation.
Tasmania has recorded 44 new Covid cases, up from 44 on Saturday, bringing the total number of current cases on the island to 157. One individual is being treated in a hospital, although none of them requires intensive care.
Twelve additional cases have been recorded in the Northern Territory, with one person requiring intensive care.
One additional case has been recorded in Western Australia, involving a close acquaintance who was staying at the same hostel as a prior case and was not thought to be contagious while in the community.
It comes after tens of thousands of Australians spent the holidays alone after getting Covid-19 or coming into touch with a case.
The Omicron variety is present in every state and territory, making this the country’s largest and most extensive Covid outbreak.