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COVID Updates: Coronavirus Cases Continue To Rise, State Intensive Care Figures Slightly Drop, NSW Reaches Vaccine Milestone

Here’s a quick recap of what happened in the COVID news today to get you up to speed quickly.

You can access the COVID-19 stories you want to read by clicking below.

NSW records 6,288 and no deaths

NSW recorded more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours to 8 p.m. Friday.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

There were 6,288 new COVID-19 infections recorded in New South Wales within 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Friday.

The state has recorded no deaths, with 388 patients hospitalized with the virus.

There are 52 people currently in intensive care, one less than the day before.

NSW also reported that 95% of residents aged 16 and older received their first vaccine.

Read the story here.

Victoria records 2,108 new cases and six deaths

Victoria announced 2,108 other COVID-19 infections on Saturday, along with six more people who died from the virus.

There are now 17,599 active cases in the state.

The Victoria Department of Health says 92% of residents aged 12 and over have received both COVID-19 vaccines.

There are 361 people hospitalized including 112 in intensive care – three less than yesterday’s total.

There are 42 patients hospitalized on ventilators.

Read the story here.

Queensland announces new daily record of 765 cases

Queensland Minister of Health Yvette D’Ath said there had been 765 additional new cases recorded in Queensland.

There have been 33,971 recorded tests and there are now 2,147 active cases in the state.

There are only five people treated in the hospital due to mild and moderate symptoms of the virus.

A person who was treated in an intensive care unit has now been displaced.

There were 90.36% of eligible Queenslanders aged 16 and over who received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 85.88% are double vaccinated.

Read the story here.

Hundreds of people in Washington spend Christmas in isolation

Hundreds of casual COVID-19 contacts have been forced into isolation over Christmas and New Years after Western Australia announced five community cases on Friday.

One of the five is close contact from a French backpacker who tested positive on Thursday, and four are casual contacts from an event at Perth Mess Hall in Northbridge on Sunday.

Given the infections among casual contacts, Premier Mark McGowan revealed that 400 people who attended the event would need to be tested and isolated for 14 days from the exposure.

This means the group – including 100 people from one of the Fremantle backpackers – will be in quarantine until January 3.

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Two of the five new cases are vaccinated, two are not and the vaccination status of the other is unclear, McGowan said on Friday.

Meanwhile, Queensland and South Australia have been listed as high risk as of today.

Only approved travelers will be allowed to enter the state.

Adelaide nursing home needs staff amid outbreak

An SA ambulance service sign on the side of a vehicle with another in the background saying Emergency Ambulance
Paramedics were called in to help staff at the Italian village of Bene on Christmas Eve.(ABC News)

A retirement home in the northeastern suburb of Adelaide is urgently seeking staff during the holidays as “at least 20 residents” test positive for COVID-19 and paramedics are called in to work at the facility.

The SA branch of the Australian Federation of Nurses and Midwives (ANMF) posted a job offer for the Italian village of Bene in St Agnes, claiming that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced many employees to l establishment to isolate itself.

The ANMF said it was in desperate need of registered nurses, registered nurses and healthcare workers to cover shifts during the vacation period.

The state’s Ambulance Employee Association (AEA) said paramedics were asked to replace staff at the facility on Christmas Eve.

“This is completely unprecedented. There has never been a time when paramedics have been asked to assist with nursing duties,” said Josh Karpowicz, industrial manager of AEA SA.

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Tasmania registers 33 new cases

Thirty-three new COVID-19 infections have been recorded in Tasmania.

There are now 113 active cases in the state.

The Tasmanian Department of Health says there is a person in the hospital with COVID-19, but they were administered for a different medical condition.

Among state residents aged 12 and older, 91.35% have received both COVID-19 vaccines.

Pathology lab staff looking at a screen
A staff member at the Royal Hobart Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Additional COVID-19 protocols are introduced at Royal Hobart Hospital after a staff member tests positive for the virus.

Public health officials said an incident management team had been formed to prioritize testing of staff and patients who may have been exposed to the positive case.

“All RHH employees have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement read.

“These factors dramatically minimize the risk of exposure and transmission.”

Northern Territory registers 19 new cases

There are 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Territory according to health authorities.

Eight cases are from Tennant Creek and are linked to the NT outbreak, bringing the total number of cases to 140.

All are evaluated at Tennant Creek Hospital.

Ten of the new positive cases are in interstate arrivals and are unrelated to the NT outbreak.

One case is a member of staff at the Royal Darwin Hospital who was in the community during their infectious period.

Health officials said the staff member was triple vaccinated, asymptomatic and followed all appropriate mask protocols.

Read this story here.

Reports suggest one in 20 Londoners may have COVID-19

People cross Westminster Bridge, past a brightly lit store
The UK has seen its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases.(Reuters: Henry Nicholls)

The UK reported another day of record-breaking COVID-19 cases on Friday, with new estimates showing that entire swathes of London’s population carry the virus.

The rapid spread of Omicron has led to an increase in cases over the past seven days, particularly in the capital.

About 1 in 20 Londoners likely had COVID-19 on December 16, and early estimates – which could still be revised – suggest this may have risen to 1 in 10 on Sunday, according to Office for National Statistics models.

Government data showed 122,186 new cases, up from 119,789 on Thursday and marking the third day of more than 100,000 cases.

France records its largest daily increase in infections

Two women wearing masks walk in front of the Eiffel Tower
More than 94,000 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in France on Friday.(AP: Christophe Ena)

France hit a new COVID-19 infection record on Friday, with a daily figure close to 100,000, a trend that prompted the government to call a special meeting on Monday on the pandemic that could trigger further restrictions on movement.

Health officials reported 94,124 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Friday as the number of people hospitalized peaked in seven months at nearly 16,200, according to official data.

The seven-day moving average of new cases, which equalizes weekly data reporting irregularities, also hit a new high of 66,417, a total that tripled in just one month.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths increased by 167, bringing the total to 122,462.

The total number of cases in France since the start of the pandemic stands at 8.98 million, the seventh highest in the world.

Thousands of canceled Christmas weekend flights around the world

Globally, at least 2,366 flights were canceled and nearly 9,000 more were delayed on Christmas Eve, according to an ongoing tally on the flight tracking site FlightAware.com.

The website showed 1,616 flights on Christmas Day were canceled worldwide, along with another 365 that were scheduled for Sunday.

Travelers pass a sign near a COVID-19 test site in Terminal E at Logan Airport.
Thousands of flights have been canceled around the world. (AP: Charles Krupa)

Airlines said they were facing a staff shortage as COVID-19 infections increased.

Sydney Airport yesterday said at least 80 flights were canceled because airline workers were forced to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts of COVID cases.

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