Jump in NSW COVID cases today amid fears regional communities are underprepared for an outbreak


An increase in COVID-19 cases in regional and remote NSW has sparked concerns that Indigenous communities are underprepared for an outbreak as travel around the state resumes.

On Saturday, NSW Health confirmed another 271 new cases and three deaths had been recorded.

There are currently 270 people being treated for the virus in hospital, 55 of whom are in intensive care.

There were 72,350 tests conducted in the state in the last 24 hours.

The states vaccination rates continue to climb as 93.8 per cent of people aged over 16 years have now had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 89.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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Meanwhile, an increase in virus cases in regional and remote areas has sparked concerns Indigenous communities are underprepared for an outbreak as travel around NSW resumes.

This weekend is the first since restrictions have lifted on travel from Greater Sydney to regional areas for fully vaccinated people.

This week has also seen an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in regional communities.

The Hunter New England health district recorded more new cases on Friday than any other in NSW, representing 73 of 249 locally acquired infections.

Ongoing sewage surveillance also found fragments of the virus in samples collected from areas where there are no known cases.

Health authorities are working to boost Indigenous vaccination rates.
Lagging COVID-19 vaccination rates for Indigenous people remains a focus for health authorities. Credit: AAP

At Friday’s national cabinet meeting National COVID Vaccine Taskforce co-ordinator Lieutenant General John Frewen gave an update on the plan to partner with Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to accelerate vaccination rollout, noting hesitancy continues to be a factor.

Doherty Institute modelling has found Indigenous communities may require localised health strategies.

Federal Labor pointed to an Indigenous “vaccination gap”, including in five regions where the difference between the state’s double-dose rate and the rate for fully vaccinated Indigenous people exceeds 20 per cent.

In the Richmond-Tweed region, 59.9 per cent of the Indigenous population aged over 15 is fully vaccinated while in Coffs Harbour-Grafton that figure is 63.5 per cent.

The Mid North Coast has 63.7 per cent, New England and North West 66.2 per cent and Murray 67.2 per cent.

– with AAP


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