News State NSW News NSW reports 25 deaths, fewer in hospital
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NSW reports 25 deaths, fewer in hospital

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Hospitalisation numbers have fallen in NSW for the first time in five weeks.
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NSW COVID-19 hospitalisations have dropped for the first time in five weeks, with the state also reporting 25 deaths and 30,825 fresh infections.

The state’s hospitals are treating 2781 people, down 82 on Wednesday’s figures.

The last time the daily hospitalisations figure fell was December 13, two days before NSW lifted most virus measures.

Intensive care patients were down five to 212 on Thursday, while the triple-dose vaccination rate has risen to 29 per cent.

Four in five primary-school-aged children in NSW are still to receive their first dose of the vaccine.

It came as Labor called for schools to be turned into mass vaccination hubs and NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant urged parents to get booster shots to protect their kids.

Dr Chant said people who had already had COVID-19 could get a booster four to six weeks after they were infected.

Case numbers might increase as children return to school, Dr Chant said.

Meanwhile, NSW and Victoria will unveil their united schooling plan at national cabinet on Thursday.

Retired teachers and final-year university students have been asked to provide a buffer to an anticipated shortfall of regular staff furloughed due to COVID-19 isolation rules.

“It will look a bit different to how schooling has been in normal times, but ultimately I think with the plan we put in and will be taking to national cabinet today, I have confidence we’ll be able to have schooling commence as seamlessly as possible,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told the ABC on Thursday.

He said no final decision had been made on the extent of surveillance testing in schools, purported to be twice-weekly for all 1.3 million students in NSW.

But “at least in the short-term” surveillance testing would have some role. NSW this week increased its order of rapid tests to 150 million.

“We see those tests playing a role in all our frontline work and giving comfort to people as we move through this difficult period of time,” Mr Perrottet said.

“That’s for schools, health workers, providing support, social housing as well.”

As hospital numbers fall, newly published figures show the average COVID patient taken to hospital is spending almost five days before discharge, up from 3.6 days per admission two weeks ago.

The snapshot – taken on January 17 – also shows patients are spread across 95 hospitals, up nearly 50 per cent from a fortnight before.

The number of health workers in isolation fell slightly on last week’s figure, down 360 to 5296.

Unvaccinated people remain disproportionately more likely to end up seriously ill, making up 27 per cent of hospital patients and 44 per cent of ICU admissions on January 16 when that snapshot was taken.

-AAP