Health Minister Greg Hunt said the milestone of the first vaccine doses for Australians aged 16 and over exceeded “almost all possible predictions that were made at the start of the pandemic”.
“It is often referred to as a full level of vaccination, but we want to go further, we want to continue to encourage Australians to come forward,” Mr Hunt told reporters on Saturday.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Saturday there were “hopeful signs” that the outbreak in NSW, along with those in Victoria and the ACT, had peaked.
“All the forecasts and now the actual forecasts based on the actual number of cases, particularly in NSW but also in Victoria and ACT, leads me to believe that we are close to the peak of this wave in terms of cases,” he said. he told reporters, noting the cases are likely to be underreported.
However, Professor Kelly noted that the situation in Western Australia “is a different story”.
“When they start to have cases it will be later. But for most of the rest of Australia we are still on this upward curve, we can plateau and then there is a drop in cases after that “, did he declare.
NSW posts 20 new deaths
NSW recorded 20 new deaths and 48,768 new cases on Saturday – 21,748 via rapid antigen tests and 27,020 via PCR tests.
There are currently 2,576 patients in hospitals, down from 2,525 on Friday.
There has also been a slight increase in the number of people admitted to intensive care, with 193 patients currently requiring intensive care, up from 184 on Friday.
With more people dying from coronavirus in New South Wales than at any other time during the pandemic, authorities maintain things are better than expected and predict the outbreak will soon peak.
NSW COVID-19 Update – Saturday 15th January 2022
During the 24-hour reporting period up to 8 p.m. last night:
– 95.2% of people aged 16 and over have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 93.8% of people aged 16 and over received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/uLxDFqCt0j
Worst-case scenario modeling suggested that 6,000 people could be hospitalized at the peak of the outbreak, with 10% in intensive care.
Even best-case scenario predictions paint a grimmer picture than the current reality, estimating that 3,158 people would be hospitalized.
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said on Friday that the state had “a difficult few weeks ahead” but that things were not currently going as badly as feared was “very reassuring and encouraging”. Opposition Leader Chris Minns criticized the government for failing to prepare in December for the expected surge in cases.
Victoria reports 23 deaths
Victoria, meanwhile, reported 23 deaths and 25,526 new cases on Saturday – 12,857 via rapid antigen tests and 12,669 via PCR tests.
Currently, there are 227,105 active cases – 1,054 in hospitals and 115 in intensive care.
The number of Victorians aged 18 and over who received their booster shot rose to 22%.
The figures come as private pathology labs send more notifications to Victorians whose PCR tests were found to be invalid because they are more than seven days old.
“Affected patients will be notified via text message in the near future. We regret the inconvenience caused to our patients by the delay in results,” Australian Clinical Labs said in an update released on Friday.
“Our lab staff are doing everything they can to clear the current backlog, and like all pathology businesses in Victoria, we have seen an unprecedented volume of samples entering our labs in the last wave.”
Person in 20s dies in Queensland
Queensland has announced six more COVID-related deaths, including one person in their 20s, and 19,709 cases.
Other deaths included one person in their 70s, two in their 80s and two in their 90s.
“All of these people had actually received a vaccine,” Chief Health Officer John Gerrard told reporters on Saturday.
“It reminds us that even vaccinated people can get serious illness, especially if you have underlying medical conditions,” Dr. Gerrard said.
There are 649 people in hospital, including 46 in intensive care.
Fourteen people are ventilated.
SA reports 4,349 new cases and four deaths
South Australia has reported 4,349 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths, with Premier Steven Marshall hoping the state will hit its peak of infections in the coming days.
The numbers include 3,175 infections confirmed by PCR testing and 1,242 by state-issued RATs.
Mr Marshall described the figures as a “significant reduction” from the 5,679 infections recorded on Friday, which was the first day RATs were included in daily totals and came after a delay in processing PCR tests following the weather hot Wednesday and Thursday.
There are 236 people in hospital – down 10 from Friday’s figures – including 26 in intensive care, including seven on ventilators.
According to South African government modeling, released on Friday, daily cases are expected to reach between 6,000 and 10,000 when the epidemic reaches its peak, expected between January 15 and 25.
“The numbers we see today are exactly the model that was delivered yesterday,” Marshall told reporters on Saturday.
“I’m hopeful we’ll hit that peak in the next couple of days in South Australia and then we’ll be heading towards a reduction in those numbers.”
1,320 other cases in ACT
The ACT has recorded 1,320 new cases of COVID-19, with rapid antigen test results now factoring into the official tally.
Health authorities say there were 691 positive RAT results and 629 PCR lab tests in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Friday.
The territory now manages 3,316 total active virus cases.
There are 30 patients with the virus in hospitals in Canberra, up from three on Friday. Three of them are being treated in intensive care units and on ventilation.
The ACT opened a rapid test reporting method on Wednesday, with 1,178 positive cases added to the total number of RAT infections taken between Jan. 8 and Jan. 12.
More than 15% of Canberrans aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 98.6% of people aged 12 and over have received two doses.
Among adults aged 18 and over, 28.1% also received a booster dose, a figure unchanged from Friday.
Tasmania reports 1,139 infections
Tasmania reported 1,139 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, as the overall number of active infections in the state drops for a third consecutive day.
Twenty-two people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, 10 of whom are being treated specifically for symptoms of the virus. One person is in intensive care.
The other 12 people hospitalized have COVID-19 but are being treated for unrelated medical conditions.
The new infections come from 884 self-reported rapid antigen tests and 255 PCR tests.
Tasmania’s health department says 1,470 people have been released from solitary confinement in the past 24 hours. That means there are 7,108 active cases reported, down from 7,439 on Friday and 7,969 on Thursday.
It comes as elective surgery and other services at a hospital in North West Tasmania are cut due to staff shortages caused by COVID.
More than 90 staff at Burnie’s North West Regional Hospital are unable to work after catching the virus or being forced to self-isolate as a close contact.
Second COVID-19 death in NT
A First Nations woman from the Bagot community of Darwin has died of COVID-19 at the Royal Darwin Hospital.
This is the second death linked to COVID-19 in the Northern Territory, which – on Saturday – recorded 412 new cases of COVID-19.
About a third of new cases tested positive on a RAT.
Thirty-two patients in the jurisdiction are currently in hospital, none are in intensive care.
“I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family, to the community of Bagot because we know they are going to suffer at this time,” Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said on Saturday.
“[I] I also want to extend my thanks and sympathy to the staff in the intensive care unit, as we know they have worked incredibly hard here,” she said.
Additional reports by AAP.