Tasmania records 751 new cases of COVID-19 as authorities warn of surge

Tasmania has recorded 751 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, as health authorities warn the true number of active cases is likely much higher than what is being reported.

Five people are now in hospital with COVID, but only one person is specifically being treated for COVID-19 symptoms.

The remaining four were admitted for other medical conditions, and no patients are in intensive care.

There are now 3,534 active cases of COVID-19 in Tasmania, with 237 people released from isolation in the last 24 hours.

A record 2,958 tests were conducted at state-run clinics yesterday.

Yesterday, health authorities warned that “one in 50” Tasmanians will likely be an active COVID case in the coming week, with Public Health director Mark Veitch estimating one in 170 people have been infected already.

Speaking at a media conference yesterday, Dr Veitch said there were likely around another 3,000 active cases in the state that have not yet been diagnosed due to accessibility issues with PCR testing.

“It could be as many as twice as many people as we’re actually diagnosing do actually have the infection,” he said.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

Yesterday, cars were being turned away at a new drive-through testing site in Kingston, south of Hobart, hours before it opened.

The drive-through testing clinic in Kingston was swamped with demand on its first day of operation.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Dozens of hospital staff sick with COVID

All three of Tasmania’s major public hospitals have been affected by COVID-19.

Fifty staff at the Royal Hobart Hospital have contracted the virus, forcing the hospital to review its patient services.

Five at the Launceston General Hospital and one worker at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie have also tested positive.

“We have not had any reports of hospital transmission of COVID, this has been for staff that have experienced community transmission,” state health commander Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said yesterday.

This Tasmanian managed his COVID-19 at home. Here’s how it went

Most Tasmanians who catch COVID-19 will manage it from their own homes. Simon Boot was one of the first to test out the government’s COVID@home “virtual ward” program.

Read more

Fifteen nursing homes across the state have also been impacted by COVID, with 13 facilities reporting a single staff case, and another two managing transmission.

It is not known how many cases in Tasmania are the Omicron variant, with health authorities confirming on Monday that genomic sequencing of tests was only being conducted in certain scenarios.

“We’re not sequencing all variants at the moment. We do have predominantly Omicron but some Delta circulating in the community. We do expect most cases could be Omicron,” Public Health deputy director Scott McKeown said at a press conference on Monday.

International travellers can now enter Tasmania without needing to quarantine, after it was announced yesterday that they would now have the same rules as arriving domestic travellers.

From December 15, international arrivals were required to spend seven days in quarantine, either at a government quarantine hotel or at a government-approved “suitable premises”.

It is the first time in nearly two years international travellers are not required to quarantine on arrival to the state.

As Tasmania stops posting exposure sites, people crowdsource their own COVID information

  • New residents breathe life into isolated town on Tasmania’s wild West Coast
  • ‘Devils don’t like bandages’: Injured Tasmanian devil released back into the wild
  • ‘We met this old guy called Les’: Milestone walk for wilderness regular ‘Gandalf’
  • Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

    The symptoms

  • The number of cases in Australia
  • Tracking Australia’s vaccine rollout