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NSW records 92,264 Covid-19 cases after rapid antigen test results included

NSW has reported 92,264 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday after rapid antigen test results from the last 12 days were included in the tally.

A record 21 deaths of people with Covid-19 have been confirmed in the latest reporting period, making Thursday the equal deadliest day of the pandemic in NSW so far.

The same number of deaths were reported on Wednesday.

There are 2383 people in hospital with the virus, with 182 of those in intensive care, up from 2242 and 175 respectively on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, NSW Health said 61,387 were detected on rapid tests (RATs) and 30,877 were detected on PCR tests.

Victoria meanwhile recorded 37,169 new cases and 25 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours.

Rapid tests results included

Covid-19 infections were expected to surge in NSW on Thursday after 82,000 rapid test results were reported in the first day of the system going live.

Health officials noted on Thursday the day’s case numbers could include some people who reported positive rapid tests on multiple days or had an additional PCR test.

“Please note there may be some cases included in these numbers where people have reported positive RATs on multiple days and/or where people have also had a positive PCR test during the same reporting period,” NSW Health tweeted.

The state government has made it mandatory for residents to report their rapid tests or face a $1000 fine, which will come into force from next week.

Almost 14,000 people reported their results through the Service NSW app within two hours of the online portal being launched at 9am on Wednesday.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said that figure had risen to more than 82,000 by the end of the day.

He told Sunrise the figure was from results over the past 12 days.

The positive tests include infections discovered by people testing themselves at home since January 1.

Camera IconCustomer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the system would rely on the public following the rules. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

Because Wednesday was the first day it was possible to log the results through the Service NSW app, the day’s numbers represented a significant spike as people were told to report infections that were up to 12 days old.

Health officials have said tracking rapid test results will give them a more accurate indication of the infection rate and allow them to link people with healthcare if they need it.

Premier Dominic Perrottet, unveiling the reporting system on Wednesday, flagged a $1000 penalty for people who failed to log their positive results.

He said the fine would be in place from January 19, but did not explain how it could be policed.

Mr Dominello on Thursday admitted it would be “almost impossible” to enforce and the government would have to rely on people following the rules.

Camera IconAuthorities say logging rapid tests will allow people to be connected to healthcare. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

“But it’s also showing the public that A: we take this seriously. As a government, as a community, we need to take this seriously,” he said.

“Yes, we will rely on the public as we have done for the last two years to get us through this.

“But I’ve got no doubt when you look at the vaccination rates and all the other things that we have asked the public to do … they have always stood up to the mark.”

Mr Dominello said there could be situations in the future where people needed to prove they had coronavirus and show their proof of registration.

“There may be grants in the future, for example, if you need to get financial assistance in the federal government, hypothetically and they need to say, well, show us that you had Covid,” he said.

He said NSW was following the ACT, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory in introducing a financial penalty.

The NSW government has ordered 100 million rapid tests which it says it will focus on distributing to essential public workers, schools, rural areas, vulnerable communities and healthcare providers who care for them.

NSW recorded 34,759 new infections from PCR testing on Thursday.

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