Western Sydney community urged to stay COVID-safe this summer

NSW Health is reminding the western Sydney community to keep practising COVID-safe behaviours, as COVID-19 remains at high levels across NSW.

The latest NSW Health Respiratory Surveillance Report for the fortnight ending 6 January 2024 indicates that COVID-19 transmission in NSW is currently at a higher level than during last year’s winter peak, while in the greater Sydney area it is approaching levels not seen since December 2022.

Emergency Department presentations for COVID-19 remain high although the proportion of presentations requiring admission to hospital has been declining, suggesting while there has been an increase in cases there has been no increase in the severity of disease.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged people to the community to keep practising COVID-safe behaviours to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“Currently, the Omicron variants EG.5 and JN.1 appear to be driving the majority of transmission in the community, with JN.1 increasing in prevalence, in line what we have seen in other countries,” Dr Chant said.

“While there is no evidence to suggest these variants cause more severe disease the overall increase in case numbers puts more people, especially vulnerable people, at risk from COVID-19.

No-one wants to see high levels of transmission in the community, but we do know what works to limit transmission in these circumstances and I am calling on the community to do those simple things that will make a big difference.

“If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please stay at home. If you are experiencing symptoms and you do need to go out, please wear a mask.

“Don’t visit high risk settings like hospitals, aged and disability care facilities or people who are at higher risk of severe illness until your symptoms resolve.

“To receive the best protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19, it is important to stay up to date with your recommended COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Dr Chant urged people to have a plan with their doctor if they are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This plan may include recommending a PCR test if you get sick or use of antiviral medication, if eligible.

More information on staying COVID-safe is available on the NSW Government website.