NSW stresses getting boosted as COVID claims a further 22 lives

Three Australians in 10 haven't bothered to get their third shots. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

Three Australians in 10 haven't bothered to get their third shots. Photo: Getty

NSW has reported 6686 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 22 virus-related deaths as health authorities encourage eligible people to get their booster shots.

There are 1614 people in hospital with the virus, 93 of whom are in intensive care, after the number of hospitalisations fell below 2000 on Wednesday for the first time since January.

Three people who died were aged under 65 and all were double-vaccinated with underlying health conditions.

One of these deaths was a man in his 40s who died at Junee Correctional Centre on January 26, but whose death was reported on Sunday.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state is in a “strong position” in the pandemic but was going through a “transition”.

“If you take a step back and look at the hospitalisations and ICU presentations things are certainly heading in the right direction,” Mr Perrottet told reporters on Sunday.

The government is on track to lose the seat of Bega in a by-election and when asked what lessons he would take away from the results Mr Perrottet said the state was on a “hard road but the right road”.

“Ultimately in a pandemic or in any situation like the one we found ourselves in you have got to make sure you are always doing what’s right,” he said.

“Importantly you have got to communicate that, you have to take the community with you. I think you can certainly take that from the results yesterday.”

More than 95 per cent of people aged 16 and over in NSW have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 94.2 per cent double-vaccinated.

Less than half fully protected

Of people aged 16-plus, 48 per cent have now received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which represents just over half of the eligible population.

NSW Health’s Michael Douglas said people who have had COVID-19 should still get a booster dose once they are “fully recovered” from the illness, about four to six weeks after testing positive.

“We urge people to get their booster doses as soon as they are eligible to ensure that they are protected from the harmful effects of COVID-19,” Dr Douglas said on Sunday.

On Saturday the Australian Medical Association NSW joined a campaign by their federal counterpart calling on the Commonwealth to “pay their fair share for public hospitals”.

The AMA is aiming to make hospital funding a major issue for the upcoming election, and wants an agreement struck for 50-50 funding between the federal and state governments.

The group said its campaign was aimed at highlighting chronic underfunding which it says has contributed to ambulance ramping, emergency waiting times and delays in elective surgery.

“Public hospitals were under pressure before the pandemic, but COVID really exposed the cracks in our system. Staff under-resourcing remains a difficult issue in NSW,” AMA NSW president Danielle McMullen said.

On Friday the government defended its handling of the pandemic during the Omicron wave.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant along with other senior NSW Health staff, healthcare unions and academics fronted state parliament’s public accountability committee.

In his evidence, Mr Hazzard brushed off queries from the committee that he was warned the December 15 scale-back of restrictions would led to “death and despair” in aged care.

The changes in December included ending mandatory mask wearing and eased density limits in venues.

The minister also denied suggestions that, regarding Omicron, the government had “let it rip” over summer against health advice, insisting at the inquiry that the community knew it was trying its best.


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