News State NSW News NSW virus cases spike to above 800, another death
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NSW virus cases spike to above 800, another death

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A virus cluster in Newcastle is expected to grow after infected persons visited a pub in the city. Photo: AAP
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COVID case numbers have surged in NSW, with 804 and a death on Tuesday, as a cluster in Newcastle spreads, forcing more people into isolation.

The tally is a jump of 268 on Monday, and up from a low of 179 on November 30.

The spike comes as NSW Health battles to contain several large transmission events.

There were 86,562 tests across the state in 24-hour reporting period.

The double-dose vaccination rate of those 16 and older is 93.2 per cent, while 94.8 per cent of people have had their first jab.

There are 168 people are in hospital with the virus, including 21 in intensive care.

Some 81.4 per cent of children aged 12-15 have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 77.7 per cent are fully jabbed.

Meanwhile, NSW Health has named a new exposure site in Newcastle. Anyone who was at Finnegan’s Hotel in Darby Street between 6.30pm on Friday and 2.30am on Saturday is advised to get tested and self-isolate for seven days.

“All household contacts of close contacts must also be tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received by everyone in the household,” NSW Health said on Monday night.

“It is likely some of these cases have the Omicron variant of concern.”

NSW Health is appealing for anyone who didn’t check in using the QR code to also get tested and self-isolate.

The latest alert comes after cases linked to an outbreak that started at Newcastle’s Argyle House nightclub on Wednesday spiked from 24 to 84 on Monday. Some of those are also likely to be the Omicron variant.

Nearly 700 people checked into the venue and chief health officer Kerry Chant said it was “incredibly important” that anyone who was at the venue had a test, “given the high transmission at this venue”.

The leap in cases come just 24 hours before NSW further eases a swathe of virus rules. From Wednesday, unvaccinated people will be free to mingle with everyone at pubs, cafes, gyms and shops.

Density limits will be scrapped at venues and masks will no longer be mandatory in shops. They will still be required on public transport and planes, as well as for indoors front-of-house unvaccinated hospitality staff.

Check-ins will be required only in high-risk settings such as hospitals, pubs, clubs and gyms, and singing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors for everyone.