News Coronavirus Contract tracers baffled as NSW’s tally of Omicron cases rises to 13

Contract tracers baffled as NSW’s tally of Omicron cases rises to 13

COVID Nu variant
Health authorities are at a loss to understand how the mutant Omicron variant is spreading. Photo: Getty
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NSW has recorded another 286 new cases of coronavirus as the state watches a growing number of cases of the Omicron variant it’s feared has been spreading in the community.

The state recorded the new cases from 66,671 tests, while one person has died.

There have been 13 Omicron cases confirmed with genomic testing in NSW since the first cases were reported last week, but only about half are linked to the eight countries of concern.

A concerning cluster of infections at Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney stands at 13 cases, with three already confirmed positive for Omicron.

The first student confirmed to have the new variant did not have any known link to southern Africa and urgent investigations are searching for the source of the cluster.

Students have now been dismissed for the year, with Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant on Saturday thanking the school community for their co-operation.

“It’s been an amazing turnout for testing … and that’s really been useful in us getting a rapid understanding of how the transmission has occurred,” she said.

The cluster has now also been linked to the the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in Villawood.

Anyone who attended the gym last Saturday, November 27, between 9am and 4.30pm is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate.

Dr Chant said she had been pleased to see a stabilisation of cases in the regions, but that metropolitan Sydney is starting to record an uptick in cases.

Instead of obsessing over the rise in case numbers, Premier Dominic Perrottet says the public should instead focus on hospitalisations and ICU presentations.

On Sunday there were 148 people in hospital, up nine from the day before, with 26 in intensive care.

The state’s vaccination rate remained at 94.6 per cent first-dose coverage on Saturday with 92.8 per cent fully vaccinated.