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Coroner to investigate death of baby with Covid in regional NSW


Authorities have confirmed a baby died with Covid in regional NSW last month, as the state marked its deadliest day of the pandemic so far.

An eight-week old baby has died with coronavirus in regional NSW in what is believed to be Australia’s youngest Covid-related fatality.

The infant died in a local hospital in the Hunter Region in December, with the death confirmed by authorities on Friday.

NSW Health chief health officer Kerry Chant said the death had been referred to the Coroner for investigation and the findings would eventually be publicly released.

“The Coroner and forensic pathologists are working very hard to get the answers that most importantly, the family wants and the clinicians want in terms of this child and the contribution that Covid may or may not have made to its death,” she told reporters.

She said there was strong public interest in the baby’s death and NSW Health was committed to making known the outcome of the coronial investigation.

“But our priority will be that the coroner will inform the family, the family will have the time to talk to the clinicians about the implications of the findings and then we will release it publicly given the significant interest in this case,” she said.

Dr Chant expressed her condolences to the baby’s family members for their loss and asked the media to respect their privacy.

“I have spoken with the family and the family are very keen for their privacy to be protected,” she said.

“As you can imagine, this is one of the most difficult times a family could ever go through.”

A spokeswoman for the Hunter New England Local Health District said it was in contact with and supporting the family.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further while the Coroner investigates this tragic death,” she said.

The baby’s death was confirmed as NSW reported a record 46 Covid-related fatalities on Friday, marking the deadliest day of the pandemic so far.

The state confirmed 25,168 new Covid-19 cases – 10,015 from positive rapid tests reported to the government and 15,153 detected on PCR testing.

There are 2743 people in the state’s hospitals with coronavirus, with 209 of those in intensive care, down from 2781 and 212 respectively on Thursday.

Covid-related hospitalisations have fallen for a second day after dropping on Thursday for the first time since mid-December.

Hospitalisations had risen each day since December 18, when there were 206 people in hospital with the virus and Omicron began eclipsing the Delta variant in NSW.

Professor Adrian Esterman, the chair of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of South Australia, told NCA NewsWire on Thursday there was a “good chance” the outbreak would continue trending downwards.

“What we’re seeing not just in NSW but other states as well is there was a very sharp rise in cases before the peak was reached, but it’s coming down very slowly and very bumpily. We’ll keep seeing that,” he said.

Mr Perrottet said hospitalisations and ICU presentations were tracking better than the state government’s “best case scenario” modelling for this point in the outbreak.

“We were expecting more than 3000 people in our hospitals with Covid and in a worst-case scenario, 6000 people with Covid, so the figure today … provides some reassurance in terms of the situation here in NSW,” he said.

Dr Chant said it appeared the spread of Omicron was beginning to slow down.

“We look at the hospitalisations, the staff furloughing, our testing data, our case positivity. That all gives us a sense that the spread of Covid is slowing and it is pleasing to see,” she said.

As of Friday, 95.3 per cent of people in NSW aged over 16 have had one dose of a Covid vaccine, 93.9 per cent have had two and 30.3 per cent have received a booster shot.

Victoria reported 18,167 new Covid cases on Friday, as well as 20 deaths.

There are 1096 people in Victorian hospitals with Covid, of whom 121 are in intensive care including 34 people on ventilators.

Queensland has recorded 16,031 new Covid infections from 37,121 tests, with 489 positive rapid tests reported to health authorities.

Thirteen people died in Queensland with Covid, all of whom were aged over 60.

Originally published as Coroner to investigate death of baby with Covid in regional NSW



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