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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Summer scare for first time Covid infections

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People who avoided Covid in the first three waves are more likely to be infected this summer, new data has revealed.

The revelation comes as NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant says the peak of the state’s fourth Covid wave may only be a week away.

NSW recorded 40,194 new cases in the seven days to Thursday afternoon, with 1526 people hospitalised with Covid and 40 people in intensive care. Forty-eight people died from the virus over the week.

Dr Chant predicted cases will begin to decline in the “coming week or so”.

Families and friends should try to hold any gatherings in outdoor or well-ventilated spaces, Dr Chant said.

“Let’s all keep doing the little things as we head into the festive season,” she said.

Meanwhile, north of the border in Queensland, health authorities are urging people to get up to date with their vaccinations.

The sunshine state reported 13,632 cases between November 30 and December 7, which is an increase of 21 per cent compared to the week prior.

Fifteen deaths were reported during that period, while 320 people were hospitalised and eight remain in intensive care.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said the number of positive cases had risen in the past week and were expected to keep trending upward until the fourth wave peaked.

Dr Gerrard said more than 80 per cent of people reporting positive results in this Covid surge are still first infections.

“As time goes on, it is natural that people who have not yet had COVID-19 will become infected,” he said.

“Given this, I am hopeful future waves will be even milder as hybrid immunity to COVID-19 becomes more widespread.”

Dr Gerrard urged people to get their fourth dose of the vaccine if they haven’t done so already.

“It is encouraging to see the number of hospitalisations remain low in comparison to previous waves, but a large number of people aged over 60 not up to date with their vaccinations are being infected,” Dr Gerrard said.

“People in this group are at significant risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19, so it is vital they receive four doses of the vaccine.”

Queensland’s COVID-19 traffic light system remains on amber, which means people are advised to wear a mask in healthcare settings, indoors if they could not socially distance, and on public transport.

Dr Chant recommended people wear masks in crowded settings and stay home if they are experiencing cold or flu symptoms.

Echoing her northern counterpart, she encouraged NSW residents to make sure they were up to date with their Covid vaccinations and knew whether they could take antivirals if they contracted the virus.

“It is really important to know if you are eligible for antivirals because taking them promptly can keep you out of hospital if you subsequently test positive for Covid,” she said.

“Make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations, and for those over 50 this means four doses.”

It comes as the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship docked in Sydney on Friday morning with hundreds of positive Covid cases disembarking the vessel at Circular Quay.

The ship had been classed as a tier 2 Covid risk by the NSW government, meaning it had as many as 100 positive cases per 1000 people on-board.

Originally published as Covid cases to start decline in ‘next week or so’, says NSW chief health officer



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