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Covid Australia: NSW new case numbers drop due to rapid antigen test reporting as QLD and Vic spike

Victoria has very quickly gone from reporting far fewer Covid-19 cases than NSW to far more, but this is because thousands of rapid antigen test results are going unreported because of a bureaucratic delay.

On Friday, Victoria recorded 21,728 new cases, with 38,625 in NSW. 

By Sunday, the NSW figure had fallen to 30,062, while Victoria saw a dramatic rise to 44,155 new cases. 

Public health medicine specialist Professor Tony Blakely said the state to state variances are likely caused by whether or not rapid antigen test results are formally recorded.

Last week, Scott Morrison told Australians they didn’t need to seek a PCR swab test if their rapid test was positive – meaning a positive RAT now means a person is officially infected with Covid.

But NSW has not yet introduced a way to formally contact authorities and let them know about your positive result – meaning thousands of infections will be going undetected and the official case toll won’t be accurate.

Epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely has advised people to keep wearing masks to help keep Covid numbers down (pictured, two women walk in Bondi)

Queensland, too, is seeing a spike in figures, up from 10,953 new cases on Friday to 11,174 on Saturday and 18,000 on Sunday.

Both Queensland and Victoria have already set up a system for those who test positive on a RAT to report their result online, meaning their infections numbers are likely more accurate. 

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet says a similar system will be available via Service NSW sometime in the next week.  

COVID CASE NUMBERS RECORDED ON SUNDAY 

VICTORIA: 44,155

NSW: 30,062

QUEENSLAND: 18,000

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 4,506

TASMANIA: 1,406 

ACT: 1,039 

NORTHERN TERRITORY: 481 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1

Professor Blakely said on Sunday that Australia’s RAT situation has been a ‘debacle’ but is now improving. 

‘Getting the systems over to a rapid antigen test … places like Victoria now having systems where you can upload your rapid antigen test, that’s going pretty well. 

‘The stocks need to come through to support that though, at the moment that’s where our weakness is, we just don’t have enough stock in the country for perhaps another 10 days,’ he told Channel 10’s The Project.   

Prof Blakely said recording the numbers of people infected with Covid ‘does matter’ as it helps experts to project the number of upcoming hospitalisations, but is made more difficult by the increasing use of RATs. 

‘We are focused on the hospitalisations, but you don’t know the hospitalisation number until two weeks after the infection peak,’ he said.

‘But we can learn at what is happening in New South Wales and now Victoria and know that this thing is explosive, and the lesson remains the same, slow it down. 

‘Get the masks on, get people working at home, get some density limits so the health service can manage. 

‘So we can still manage our way through it without the (full) numbers (due to home RATs). But it’s unfortunate to not have those numbers to give an accurate projection of what the hospitalisations will be. We have lost that ability a bit now.’ 

Prof Blakely backed Queensland delaying the start of the new school year by two weeks. 

‘I think it’s quite wise, and the reason being, as Queensland (is) say another week or two weeks perhaps, behind Victoria and New South Wales, and so, they may have peaked by the time the kids go back,’ he said.  

People queue at a walk-in Covid-19 testing site in Melbourne. Victoria now includes the results of rapid antigen tests in its daily Covid figures

People queue at a walk-in Covid-19 testing site in Melbourne. Victoria now includes the results of rapid antigen tests in its daily Covid figures

The professor added that NSW and Victoria may not need to delay the return of schools as they may have passed the peak of infections by the time the kids get back.  

Prof Blakely, some of whose family members have tested positive to Covid, also backs the advice from Prof Kidd on basic, over the counter medications such as paracetamol, and also disinfectants. 

‘Get the stuff in place. I learnt a few more things, just a basic, proper disinfectant, something with ammonium, so we can clean the kitchen, so my step son can come down and we haven’t contaminated the surfaces.’

He added that it would be ‘great to have 10 rapid antigen tests’, but they can’t leave the house so other people will have to get them for him and his family. 

And there is likely to be worse to come, with Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd saying ‘It’s likely that many of us will test positive for Covid-19 over coming days and weeks’. 

‘My advice is that you make sure you have some paracetamol or ibuprofen at home. It’s important to be prepared because you won’t be able to go to your supermarket or pharmacy if you are diagnosed with Covid-19,’ Prof Kidd said.   

Professor Tony Blakely has backed Queensland delaying the start of the new school year by two weeks

Professor Tony Blakely has backed Queensland delaying the start of the new school year by two weeks

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk