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HNELHD worst COVID-affected region in state

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Despite COVID numbers levelling out throughout NSW, the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) is the worst affected region in the state.

As of 4pm on Thursday 22 December, HNELHD registered 5,535 new cases – an increase of 382 from the previous seven days.

That figure came from 2,795 rapid antigen tests (RATs) and 2,740 positive PCRs.

The latest tally is also the second consecutive week, in which the local health district recorded more than 5,000 infections.

HNELHD now sits ahead of Western Sydney (4,815), Northern Sydney (4,706) and South-Eastern Sydney (4,117).

Lake Macquarie (3,049), Newcastle (2,436) and Maitland (1,635) LGAs remain the Hunter’s “hot spots”, unveiling the most locally-acquired COVID cases in the past four weeks.

Those areas are followed by Port Stephens (665), Cessnock (439), Singleton (223), Dungog (72), Muswellbrook (24) and Upper Hunter (17).

Overall, throughout the state, NSW detected a further 38,610 infections, made up of 22,659 PCRs and 15,951 RATs.

Sadly, NSW Health reports 78 lives have been lost since Thursday 15 December.

There are also 1,618 people in hospital, with 34 of them in ICU.

“Key indicators for transmission under the current settings, including PCR positivity, hospital admissions and admissions from emergency departments (EDs), are stable or declining,” NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

“This suggests we may have passed the peak of the [latest] COVID wave.

“However, transmission remains high in the community.

“The rate of decline is uncertain and may be slowed due to high levels of social mixing over the festive period.

“As we head into the busy holiday season, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and take some simple steps to continue to protect yourself and others.

“If you have any cold or flu symptoms, stay at home.”

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