SYDNEY, Jan 18: Australia recorded its highest ever number of COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, as the outbreak continued to push up the hospitalization rates to record levels. A total of 74 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the country's three worst-hit states, including 36 from New South Wales (NSW), a record high number the state has recorded in a single day.
"Today is a very difficult day for our state," said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who asked people to continue to follow coronavirus restrictions, including isolation for close contacts and registering positive rapid antigen tests results to the authorities.
The state health department reported 29,830 new cases in the past 24 hours to 8:00 p.m. Monday. There are 2,850 people in NSW hospitals with the virus, up from 2,776 hospitalizations the day before. Amid rising hospitalizations, the neighboring state Victoria on Tuesday declared a "code brown" in hospitals, typically reserved for shorter-term emergencies, which would give hospitals the power to defer non-urgent health services and cancel the leave of healthcare workers.
Victoria reported 20,180 new COVID cases and 22 deaths on Tuesday, with 1,152 people in hospitals including 127 under intensive care. The state of Queensland recorded 15,962 new cases and 16 deaths, while the number of hospitalization rose from 702 on Monday to 819 on Tuesday.