Recorded cases of COVID-19 have dropped and are stabilising at low levels across the state according to the latest report from NSW Health, with local cases dropping below 1000 for the first time in over a year.
The Hunter New England health district remains a cause for concern with the highest case numbers and death rates in the states, but the figures are dropping sharply. The number of local positive COVID-19 tests for the past week is 876, down from 1090 in the last week of January, and over 5000 cases before Christmas. The number of people hospitalised in Hunter New England hospitals is 39, down from 46 the previous week. Of the 90 people who died from the virus in the past week, 13 were from our area, down from 17.
Genome sequencing of the virus continues to find Omicron variants BA.2.75 and BR.2, as well as the recombinant XBF, are the most prevalent across the state.
The news comes as ATAGI, the body responsible for making recommendations on vaccines, released its advice on COVID-19 booster vaccinations for the coming winter season. All adults aged over 65, and anyone aged over 18 with risk factors or complex health conditions, is being strongly recommended to geta booster before June if their last vaccine dose or COVID-19 infection was more than 6 months ago.
People aged between 18 and 64 with no risk factors, and children over 5 with risk factors, should consider getting vaccinated. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist whether you should have a booster or not.
COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as influenza and other vaccines.
ATAGI advises that a booster dose is not recommended at this time for children and adolescents aged under the age of 18 who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19.
Bivalent mRNA booster vaccines are preferred over other vaccines, according to ATAGI. These include: Pfizer Original/Omicron BA.4/5, as well as Pfizer Original/Omicron BA.1 or Moderna Original/Omicron BA.1. Moderna Original/Omicron BA.4/5 is currently under evaluation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and is expected to be available later in the year.