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NSW COVID hospital cases up as 30 more deaths are added to state’s total

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NSW has reported 20,148 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths as the state’s parents wait to hear the government’s plan to keep children safe as school returns.

After dropping for two consecutive days for the first time in a month, the number of hospitalisations increased again on Saturday, with 2762 people in hospital.

However, the number of people in ICU decreased by five to 204.

That’s better than NSW Health’s “best-case scenario” predictions, based on outbreaks in London and South Africa, that projected a peak of 3158 people in hospital and 270 in ICU.

Premier Dominic Perrottet again stressed on Friday vaccinations and boosters were key to living alongside the virus, but has said the health system is coping.

There were 8566 cases reported from rapid antigen tests and NSW Health says 7687 are from the previous seven days.

Authorities also note “there may be some cases included in these numbers where people have reported positive RATs on multiple days … or had a positive PCR test during the same reporting period”.

A week before the NSW school term is due to begin the state is yet to release a plan to return kids to classrooms amid the continuing outbreak.

Classroom crisis

The Premier on Friday said rapid antigen tests would play a “short-term role” to boost confidence and that opening schools on day one was “critically important”.

The plan is expected to be released in the coming days but Opposition Leader Chris Minns said parents and teachers urgently needed clarity.

“We really need the NSW Premier to front up and explain to the parents and teachers and students of this state when that plan will be released,” he said on Friday.

A record number of deaths were reported on Friday – 46, and the overall pandemic toll has reached 1054 as of Saturday.

Seven of those fatalities occurred between December 29 and January 13, but the tally does not include the December death of an infant in the Hunter New England region being investigated by the coroner.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the coroner’s findings would be released once the family and clinicians are informed of “the contribution that COVID may or may not have made”.

-AAP

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