COVID cases climb by 674 in Newcastle with majority likely Omicron

There has been no reprieve for Newcastle with several hundred new COVID-19 infections detected in the region for the second day in a row.

There were 674 new cases in the Hunter New England (HNE) Health district in the past 24 hours, compared to 633 the day before.

The Hunter makes up almost a third of the record-high 2,213 new COVID infections across New South Wales.

Health authorities said the majority of Newcastle’s cases were likely to be the Omicron variant, after a super-spreader event at the Argyle House last week.

The outbreak has forced health officials to intervene to stop the Lunar Electric music festival from going ahead tomorrow.

“I mean given the current situation I just don’t see how, in good conscience, that festival could have gone ahead,” local MP Tim Crakanthorp said.

Mr Crakanthorp said he was concerned for the venues that have had to cancel bookings or shut their doors after being linked to the COVID outbreak.

“I really don’t think people have realised just how difficult we’re doing it here in Newcastle.”

There were long lines at the Honeysuckle testing site this morning.(ABC Newcastle: Bindi Bryce)

Aged care home, historic pub 

Anglican Care has informed the families of residents at its Jesmond Grove aged care facility that a staff member has tested positive to the virus.

It said the home was in lockdown and they were working with NSW Health to identify close contacts.

Meanwhile, the Great Northern Hotel was the latest pub that has been linked to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

NSW Health has also listed new exposure windows for people who were at the pubs at the following times, urging them to get tested if they felt the slightest flu symptoms.

  • The Great Northern Hotel — Saturday December 11, from 12.01am until close
  • Finnegan’s Hotel — Saturday December 11, 7pm until close
  • The Cambridge Hotel — Saturday December 11, 7pm until close and Sunday December 12, 6pm until close
Exterior of a historic pub in Newcastle.
There was a risk of COVID transmission at the Great Northern Hotel in the early hours of Saturday morning.(Wikimedia Commons)
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What the experts know about the Omicron variant so far(Norman Swan)

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