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January 10, 2022: 94 cases in Orange, but how rubbery are the figures?

By staff writer

NSW Health is reporting the deaths of 18 people - six women, 11 men, and a child aged under five - across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday.

The child, from south-western Sydney, died at home and had significant underlying health conditions.

In the same 24-hour period there were 2,030 COVID-19 cases in NSW hospitals, with 159 people in intensive care, 47 of whom required ventilation.

Up to 8pm last night NSW recorded 20,293 new cases of COVID-19 detected by PCR testing, including 520 new cases identified in the Western NSW Local Health District.

However the NSW government is conceding that these figures in no way represent the truth of what is going on out in the community.

With long queues and results from PCR tests taking days to be returned, rapid antigen tests giving false negatives, low supply of rapid antigen tests, and no definitive source for reporting at-home cases, the numbers are anybody's guess.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said at a press conference on Tuesday that the actual numbers were expected to be higher.

NSW Health stated: "As increasingly people follow NSW Health’s advice to use rapid antigen tests for diagnosing COVID-19, the number of PCR tests will underestimate the true number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19."

Kirby Institute epidemiologist John Kaldor told The Age last week the figures could be anywhere from three to five times higher.

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely told SBS they could be five to 10 times higher.

The official Western numbers are as follows:

Bathurst- 220 Blayney - 9 Bogan - 1 Bourke - 6 Brewarrina - 2 Cabonne - 7 (4 Molong) Cobar - 9 Coonamble - 3 Cowra - 8 Dubbo - 87 (5 Wellington) Forbes - 11 Lachlan - 3 (inc 2 Condobolin) Mid-Western - 29 (19 Mudgee, 1 Gulgong) Narromine - 4 Oberon - 2 Orange - 94 Parkes - 5 Walgett - 3 Warren - 5 Warrumbungle - 12 (11 Coonabarabran)

There were 84,333 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, down from 98,986.

Of the six women and 11 men who died, one was aged in their 30s, three were aged in their 60s, four were aged in their 70s, seven were aged in their 80s and two were aged in their 90s.

The man in his 30s, from eastern Sydney, died at Prince of Wales Hospital.


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