NSW records 5,715 COVID-19 cases and one death, number of people in hospital rises

NSW has recorded 5,715 new COVID-19 cases as the number of people being admitted to hospital with the virus continues to rise.

It is the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections recorded in any Australian jurisdiction, and a rise of 1,952 from yesterday when the state recorded 3,763 cases.

Hospitalisations for COVID have risen to 347, up from 302 in the previous reporting day, with 45 patients in ICU.

Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday announced he would reintroduce QR code check-ins and also appears set to provide free rapid antigen testing kits.

He said check-in codes would be reintroduced in most settings including hospitality and retail.

Check-ins, which were among a raft of measures relaxed on December 15, would assist with contact tracing, Mr Perrottet said.

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He described the changes as a way of “expanding our arsenal as we learn to live with the virus”.

“People have come forward to get tested in record numbers, which is important to help keep people and the community safe, but we need to make sure our testing clinics are there for people who really need it,” the Premier said.

“Providing Rapid-Antigen Testing kits for those who want to do the right thing will help take the pressure off our testing clinics, while giving people confidence to get on with their lives.

“Our approach to COVID has never been ‘set and forget’ — we will always look at options and different ways doing things as we learn to navigate our way through the pandemic.

“This will also help people monitor their own symptoms and go about their daily activities in a responsible manner helping protect their themselves, their families and the community.”

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  • Amid rising case numbers, the state has been struggling with long queues at testing centres and delays for people awaiting results.

    Escalating case numbers and hours-long queues for PCR tests, particularly in Sydney, has led to stores across the state selling out of rapid antigen test (RAT) packs.

    RATs are home test-kits which can provide a person with a result in 15 minutes — their use has been encouraged by NSW Health.

    People are being encouraged to use the kits before heading to large-scale events and high-risk settings such as aged care homes, pubs, clubs, nightclubs and hospitals.

    The Premier said in the United Kingdom RAT kits can be ordered and sent to people’s homes.

    They would also be available for free at NSW Health facilities, local GPs and pharmacies.

    Health Minister Brad Hazzard has been instructed to explore options on the best way to proceed.

    There was one death recorded in the reporting period.

    The latest figures show 94.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 93.5 per cent of people in the same age group have had two doses of a vaccine.

    The new cases were recorded from 160,471 tests.

    NSW Health said bookings can now be made for a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

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