COVID-19 Update – 1,742 new cases in NSW, 166 from western Sydney – Thursday, 16 December 2021

NSW recorded 1,742 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

A total of 122 cases of COVID-19 with the Omicron variant of concern have been confirmed in NSW.

Four COVID-19 cases have been excluded following further investigation, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 90,144.

Of the 1,742 cases reported to 8pm last night, 633 are from Hunter New England Local Health District (LHD), 231 are from South Eastern Sydney LHD, 188 are from South Western Sydney LHD, 166 are from Western Sydney LHD, 159 are from Sydney LHD, 111 are from Northern Sydney LHD, 81 are from Northern NSW LHD, 43 are from Central Coast LHD, 38 are from Western NSW LHD, 28 are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, 23 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD, 14 are from Mid North Coast LHD, five are from Murrumbidgee LHD, four are from Far West LHD, three are from Southern NSW LHD, and 15 are yet to be assigned to an LHD.

There are currently 192 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 26 people in intensive care, eight of whom require ventilation.

There were 143,938 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 104,501.

Vaccination update

Across NSW, 94.8 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 93.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Of the people aged 12 to 15, 81.4 per cent have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 77.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The total number of vaccines administered in NSW is now 13,115,507, with 4,221,684 doses administered by NSW Health to 8pm last night and 8,893,823 doses administered by the GP network, pharmacies and other providers to 11.59pm on Tuesday 14 December 2021.

Everyone aged 18 years and older may now receive a booster five months after receiving their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The emergence of the Omicron variant is a timely reminder of the importance of booster shots in maintaining a high level of protection against the COVID-19 virus.

We urge people to get their booster dose as soon as they are eligible, to best protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from the ongoing transmission of COVID-19.

We also strongly recommend that people aged 12 years and over who are severely immunocompromised have a third primary dose of vaccine from two months after their second dose. Talk to your GP for more advice.  

NSW Health encourages everyone who is eligible to book into a NSW Health vaccination clinic or another provider without delay through the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder.

Omicron update and Newcastle concerns

NSW Health continues to be concerned about the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the Newcastle area, where the majority of a record number of cases are the Omicron variant of concern.

Several venues and events have now seen transmission of COVID-19, and NSW Health again asks everyone across the community to continue to be particularly careful and practise COVID-safe behaviours.

We urge the local Newcastle community to seriously consider deferring any social events in Newcastle until after Christmas in order to help keep family Christmas gatherings safe, and to help protect their loved ones, the vulnerable and our essential workers.

NSW Health last night issued a public health alert for The Cambridge Hotel, 789 Hunter Street, Newcastle. Anyone who attended The Cambridge Hotel from 6.30pm Friday 10 December to 2.30am Saturday 11 December is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for seven days.

Anyone who attended Finnegan’s Hotel from 6.30pm Friday 10 December to 2.30am Saturday 11 December, is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 7 days.

Anyone who attended The Argyle House nightclub from 9pm on Wednesday 8 December to 3am on Thursday 9 December has been assessed as a close contact and must immediately get tested, and isolate for 7 days.

Given the high transmission of COVID-19 at these venues, we ask household contacts of anyone who attended to also immediately get tested and isolate until they and the close contact tests negative.

However Omicron will quickly spread in other parts of the state. With most COVID-19 restrictions eased yesterday, we are urging everyone across the community to continue to practise COVID-safe behaviours.

The Omicron variant continues to spread internationally and has been identified in arrivals to NSW. NSW also has local transmission of Omicron.

International arrival requirements

Fully vaccinated arrivals from the eight southern African countries of concern no longer have to enter 14 days hotel quarantine, bringing all international arrivals under the same requirements.

Fully vaccinated people from the countries of concern who were already in hotel quarantine on Wednesday, 15 December have to remain there until at least 72 hours after their arrival in NSW

All fully vaccinated international arrivals into NSW must isolate for 72 hours, avoid high risk settings until after day seven and have a PCR test in the first 24 hours and on day six after arrival. They are also strongly encouraged to get tested 12 days after arrival because the risk of infection extends to up to two weeks after exposure.

All recent international arrivals must be vigilant for symptoms and isolate and get tested immediately should symptoms develop.  

Any passengers arriving from overseas aged 18 years and over who are not fully vaccinated must go directly into 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine.

Penalties for non-compliance with the isolation, testing and quarantine requirements have increased to $5,000 for individuals (from $1,000), and $10,000 for corporations (from $5,000).

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccination yet, please don’t delay. Even if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you should get vaccinated.

Got symptoms? Get tested

If you are directed to get tested for COVID‑19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the self-isolation rules.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative test result.

There are more than 450 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 clinics or contact your GP.