Australian state updates COVID-19 risk rating to amber as cases rise

The Australian state of New South Walse (NSW) has changed its COVID-19 risk rating from green to amber, requiring masks to be worn in all hospital areas and visitor numbers monitored to protect staff and patients.

In a statement released on Friday, NSW Health Deputy Secretary Deb Willcox pointed out that the requirements in all public hospitals and health facilities are due to increasing COVID-19 case numbers in the community.

The state’s latest figures showed there were a total of 27,869 new infections recorded for the seven days up to Thursday, up from 19,800 the week before.

“Implementing these changes now means that our staff and the community can look forward to the festive season with greater confidence,” Willcox said.

According to the statement, a significant factor in upgrading alert levels was the number of health staff unable to work due to positive COVID-19 status, and/or while awaiting a negative test result.

“As of Nov. 16, there were 1,089 health care workers in isolation up from 645 the previous week,” he said.

“This is an important indicator for our health system that we need to find the right balance with simple measures that can help us avoid more significant changes,” he added.

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