NSW reported a national record of 92,264 new COVID-19 cases today as positive rapid antigen test results were included for the first time in reporting, with 2,873 cases coming from the Sydney Local Health District.
NSW Health also reported the deaths of 22 people from COVID-19, making it the state’s deadliest day.
The new case numbers more than double the peak previously recorded on January 8, however, over 60 per cent of those cases came from self-reported rapid antigen test results.
61,387 positive rapid antigen tests were registered after the system was launched on Wednesday morning. People aged 16 and over are now required to report positive results within 24 hours or face a $1000 fine, with enforcement starting next Wednesday.
NSW Health said today’s numbers include test results from as far back as New Year’s Day, with 50,729 of the positive tests from the last seven days.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the government had expected a higher number of cases today as people registered positive test results recorded throughout January.
NSW Health also warned of some overlap in the recorded cases, as they may include instances where people have reported positive test results on multiple days or where people have also had a positive PCR test during the same period.
After criticisms were levelled over how the new self-reporting system would be enforced, Mr Dominello conceded that it’ll be “very hard to police”.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is encourage people to register their result so they can access healthcare faster and better,” he told the ABC today.
The outbreak of cases is troubling news for overwhelmed hospitals, as new data from the Critical Intelligence Unit shows the proportion of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds rose from one in five beds to one in three last week.
There are currently 2,383 COVID-19 hospitalisations in NSW, including 182 people in intensive care.