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FutureStarrNew COVID-19 Wave Likely Underway in NSW Weekly Surveillance Report
The NSW weekly surveillance report indicates an 8.6 per cent rise in emergency department presentations for coronaviruses/SARS that required hospitalization, signalling that a new COVID-19 wave may be underway in the state.
To assess the relationship between family finances and mental health after lockdown, we utilized difference-in-difference modelling. Data from families in Victoria (which experienced the initial lockdown) and NSW were compared.
In the week ending March 4, there were 6,941 cases diagnosed with the virus - an 8.6 per cent increase over the previous week and potentially signaling the start of a new wave in transmission, according to the state's weekly surveillance report.
This week, the number of COVID patients needing hospital admission increased from 107 to 128. That could suggest that a new wave is on the horizon, according to Alexandra Martiniuk, a public health expert at the University of Sydney.
She told the ABC that the increase in notified cases was an "aberration," but suggested it could be indicative of a new wave in COVID-19.
Martiniuk cautioned that it's too soon to tell whether a new wave is imminent. The number of patients requiring hospital admissions could fluctuate, however, and that would be the quickest way to confirm or deny that an uptick in admissions is underway.
CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels Tool offers users access to data regarding hospital beds used by people with COVID-19, new admissions among people living with the virus and the number of new cases within a county. This makes it an invaluable resource for communities looking to enhance prevention and response practices.
Another COVID-19 chart to examine is the one below, which displays the number of new cases each day over the past 20 days. Unfortunately, it's not available for all counties, so its data may not be as complete as if it were based on one calendar month's worth of activity.
On March 4, a week ending March 4th, the number of individuals diagnosed with COVID across California rose to 6,941. This represents an 8.6 per cent increase from the prior week and may indicate the beginning of "a new wave in transmission".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement warning of an "imminent wave" of emergency department presentations related to COVID-19. They added that these new cases would be high, with many needing hospitalization. Furthermore, this increase may reflect an increased demand for care with substance use disorders.
People with substance use disorders are admitted to emergency departments (EDs) at a higher rate than the general population (without SUD). There remains an urgent need for better understanding this problem.
In Australia, most people with SUD present to emergency departments (EDs) or hospitals for medical complications related to drug use and alcohol. Unfortunately, the underlying condition often goes undetected in these settings. Furthermore, those suffering from SUD are more likely to require hospitalization due to injury or illness-related complications than other individuals.
An ED information system consistently underestimates the number of self-harm presentations, preventing routine reporting on this matter. An improved method that incorporates additional ICD-10 codes and simple rules-based processing of a presenting problem text field produces plausible estimates that are consistent with local service data and known demographics associated with self-harm behaviors.
We applied this algorithm to Emergency Department (ED) data between January 2016 and December 2020, using summary statistics that could be more easily understood by services. We assessed its sensitivity and face validity in detecting clusters or outbreaks of public health significance; monitoring service performance; and supporting public health workforce planning.
We identified four syndromes of public health concern in our algorithm: 'gastrointestinal', 'influenza', 'pneumonia' and'meningitis'. Signals for these illnesses were compared with existing disease surveillance systems; notifiable diseases, OzFoodNet foodborne outbreaks and institutional gastrointestinal- and respiratory-outbreak databases.
The weekly surveillance report released last Thursday indicates that 128 COVID cases were diagnosed outside healthcare settings during the week ending March 4, an 8.6% increase from the prior week. University of Sydney public health expert Alexandra Martiniuk suggested this could be an indication of a new COVID-19 wave beginning. She cautioned that it was too soon to determine whether this was an isolated incident or indicative of an ongoing trend.
In NSW, mandatory quarantine for travellers returning from overseas was key in successfully containment of COVID-19 through prevention of local and interstate transmission. This led to a gradual decrease in notified cases and ultimately the cessation of community transmission after Australia's borders closed on 20 March 2020.
One aspect of this response was the establishment of a specialised health quarantine accommodation service (SHA) for returned travellers. Staffed by healthcare workers and supported by NSW Police and accommodation personnel, SHAs provide comprehensive isolation, clinical management and close contact supervision to travelers. As part of Royal Prince Alfred Virtual Hospital (rpavirtual), senior medical professionals oversee site management from these senior teams.
From Jan 25 to April 10, 2020, laboratory-confirmed paediatric (aged 18 years or older) and adult COVID-19 cases who attended a school or early childhood education and care setting while infectious were tested for onward transmission. Furthermore, selected educational settings undertook enhanced investigations with nucleic acid testing and SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing on both symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts.
This study was conducted in NSW, Australia by the NSW COVID-19 Schools Study Team with funding from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, as well as NSW Government Department of Health. All study participants provided informed consent and were included if they were considered close contacts of a COVID-19 case who had laboratory-confirmed infection.
At the start of the epidemic, most cases attending school or ECEC settings were identified through routine surveillance or direct contact with an infected person (table 1). For the first two weeks of this time period, most of these people attended distance learning classes as recommended by their schools; however, by week two they returned to face-to-face learning as necessary.
On March 4, a total of 128 cases related to COVID were reported, including six confirmed hospital admissions and 10 in residential congregate care settings such as assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. Recently these facilities have seen an influx of new patients; furthermore there have been multiple sporadic outbreaks across NSW over the past few weeks - marking its first appearance in our state and posing major risks to vulnerable residents in aged care facilities.