Monday, 20 April 2020 14:50

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) STATISTICS

As at 8pm, Sunday 19 April 2020, an additional 6 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed since 8pm 18 April, bringing the total to 2,963.

During that time, 3,489 people were tested. There were nearly 4000 more people tested in the past week than the week before. 24,246 people were tested in the past week compared to 20,361 the week before.

Confirmed cases (incl. interstate residents in NSW health care facilities)
2,963
Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases)
30
Cases tested and excluded
165,663
Total persons tested
168,626

There are currently 249 COVID-19 cases being treated by NSW Health. This includes 22 people being treated in Intensive Care Units, with 15 of those requiring ventilators. Of the 249 people currently being treated, 196 (79 per cent) are in non-acute care.

There has been one death related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

A 94-year-old man, confirmed positive for COVID-19, has passed away. He was a resident of Anglicare Newmarch House.

NSW Health extends condolences to the family of this man.

There have been two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Anglicare Newmarch House aged care facility in Caddens, bringing the total to 41 cases (14 staff and 27 residents).

A Centrelink call centre in Tuggerah has a single confirmed case reported. The office has been closed for cleaning. Investigations are underway and close contacts are being identified and contacted. The workplace will remain closed today to allow for a site visit and risk assessment.

Anyone in areas of concern for community transmission in NSW who is feeling unwell with a fever and cough, should present to a local COVID-19 clinic or their local GP for testing.

Areas of concern for community transmission in NSW are listed on the NSW Health website. This week the focus areas include the LGA areas of Blacktown, Canada Bay, Cumberland, Goulburn Mulwaree, Inner West, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Waverley and Woollahra.

Anyone who works in a health care setting, residential care setting (including aged care, disability services), boarding schools, prisons or detention centres should be tested for COVID-19 if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath).

There are 190 crew on board the Ruby Princess who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are also 13 Ruby Princess crew members in NSW Health facilities, 12 of them having tested positive for COVID-19.

The locations of COVID-19 clinics are available here:
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-clinics.aspx

NSW Health is alerting passengers who were close contacts on flights to monitor for symptoms, and contact their GP, but call ahead first, or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222, or visit a NSW Health COVID-19/Flu assessment clinic should they become unwell.

A full list of flight details can be found here:
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-flights.aspx

Published in Incoming
Monday, 20 April 2020 14:46

A message for international students

We know the impacts of this virus are affecting our international students here in Australia.

The Government has announced that international students who have been here longer than 12 months and who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access their Australian superannuation.
International students are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.
International students working in aged care and as nurses have had these hours extended to support these critical sectors.
Our Government continues to work with universities and the international education sector to minimise the impact of COVID-19, and that includes finding innovative ways to support our international students.
I also encourage our international students to use the mental health support offered by their education provider.
My message to our international students is: you are our friends, our classmates, our colleagues and members of our community.

Published in Incoming

 


The Government will hold online citizenship ceremonies via secure video link, to enable people to continue to become Australian citizens during the coronavirus crisis.

Current health advice around COVID-19 means it is not possible for traditional, in-person citizenship ceremonies to be held.

Australian citizenship is an immense privilege, and fundamental to our national identity.

The Department of Home Affairs has commenced trialling one-on-one ceremonies for those already approved for Australian citizenship. We will work with individuals with an urgent need, who cannot access the internet, to ensure their ceremony can occur safely in line with health advice.

When fully implemented, it is expected this new capability will see up to 750 people per day having their citizenship conferred.

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 requires a person to make a pledge of commitment to Australia before a presiding officer. This is a legal requirement which has been in place for decades.

Applications for Australian citizenship are still able to be accepted during this period, though citizenship interviews and testing have been put on hold.

Additional resources will be deployed to conduct testing and interviews as soon as social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ease.

The Morrison Government recognises the importance of Australian citizenship for migrants and for the wider Australia community. Already in 2019-20, more than 157,000 people have been conferred Australia citizenship, up 70% on the same period in 2018-19.

There are currently 85,000 people awaiting a ceremony.

People who were scheduled to attend a Citizenship appointment or ceremony over the coming months will be contacted to make alternative arrangements.

Published in Incoming

 


The NSW Government is injecting $25 million to fast-track statewide research and clinical trials to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic and reduce its impact on the community.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the funds are part of about $800 million in extra health funding by the NSW Government to bolster the health system.

“Already researchers in NSW have made huge inroads to improve diagnostics and potentially aid the eventual creation of a vaccine by growing the novel coronavirus,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The $25 million funding boost will further assist the collaborative research efforts of clinicians, universities and research hubs with crucial roles in the NSW COVID-19 response”.

The funding will be directed to research focused on:
accurate and timely diagnosis of COVID-19;
support conducting COVID-19 clinical trials including vaccine trials;
monitoring, developing and evaluating strategies to slow community transmission;
developing and evaluating treatments for COVID-19;
preventing the need for intensive medical care.
minimising the impact of physical and psychological trauma on the community.

The $25 million is on top of $108 million already invested in medical research in 2019-2020 and will help ensure all research findings on COVID-19 can be implemented rapidly.

The extra funding will also support clinician-led research into the COVID-19 impacts on the healthcare workforce, vulnerable populations and regional, rural and remote communities.

Professor Anthony Kelleher, Director of the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, said the institute is leading several research projects on COVID-19, including developing an antiviral therapy.

“The infectious disease expertise within the NSW medical research sector is truly world class, and we are eager to turn this investment into research that will transform this pandemic and ultimately save lives,” Professor Kelleher said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said: “This funding will go a long way to progressing urgent research to minimise the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in NSW.”

Vision: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vkojhquzd1tptsu/AADgg-OmX24KYv_i7Gl_B4Rea?dl=0

Progress on research
· ICPMR Westmead was the first lab in Australia to develop and introduce a blood antibody test for tracking the spread of COVID-19 and is working with researchers from The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance at Westmead and the Kirby Institute who will lead NSW studies of COVID-19 in schools, aged care, hospitals and the home.
· Westmead Institute researchers believe that they have found blood biomarkers that tell clinicians whether patients will need intensive care and are working with clinical trials experts from across NSW to integrate these markers in to critical studies of the course of COVID-19 and its transmissibility.
· Garvan and Kirby Institute researchers have developed a world-leading technology to identify the critical antibodies amongst the myriad produced by our immune cells when challenged by this virus - that could lead to a new treatments and diagnostic tests and are working with virology researchers at UNSW and Westmead
· University of Sydney researchers are at the forefront of research into how best to communicate information during epidemics prevent transmission of infection and into the psychological trauma that may result from managing this epidemic in Australia.

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