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Hunter New England Public Health Unit: Health Protection Update

Key messages - COVID-19

New South Wales is currently experiencing another COVID-19 wave, with high levels of transmission occurring in the Hunter New England area.

We are seeing an increase in the number of hospitalisations with COVID-19 in our region.

This wave is being driven by three factors:

  • Emergence of new omicron variants (Eris (EG.5) and Pirola (BA.2.86)).
  • Waning immunity from previous infections or vaccinations.
  • The festive period bringing increased rates of transmission.

Looking forward we can expect to see moderate to high levels of COVID transmission to continue throughout the festive season.

Please stay at home if you are feeling unwell, assume that it is Covid and avoid high risk settings.

If possible, plan events in well-ventilated areas to reduce risk of transmission.

People who are at risk of severe disease, Highest Priority those aged over 75 years:

  • Stay up to date with your recommended booster.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Have a plan with your GP for testing and antivirals if you develop COVID.

A New XBB.1.5 booster, better matching circulating variants, is now available.

See Australian Immunisation Handbook or New ATAGI Recommendations for Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 Vaccines - Primary Health Network ( for more details on vaccination advice and eligibility.

Key messages - Pertussis

Pertussis (whooping cough) notifications are increasing across NSW including the Hunter New England region.

Consider Pertussis for people with a compatible illness, even if they are fully vaccinated.

Staying up to date with recommended vaccinations, especially for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants and their siblings
  • Adults who care for children under 6 months of age.

For more information on Pertussis vaccination see Australian Immunisation Handbook Pertussis

View video recording of PHU Update - Dr Peter Murray (Hunter New England Public Health Unit)

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