NSW and Victoria COVID cases spiking as Omicron subvariant takes hold

The number of new cases of coronavirus in New South Wales has spiked, compared to last week, as the Omicron subvariant takes hold.

The state recorded 24,803 new cases on Thursday, NSW Health reports.

Another eight deaths were also recorded.

There are currently 1180 people being treated in hospital with the virus, with 43 in intensive care.

At the same time last week, the state recorded just over 20,000 new cases of the virus.

The recent increase in cases has been attributed to the Omicron subvariant BA.2, which has led to a new wave of infections across the country.

“The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) is currently the dominant COVID-19 variant of concern circulating in the NSW community,” NSW Health said last week.

“Both main sub-lineages of the Omicron variant (BA.1 and BA.2) are circulating in NSW, with the proportion of BA.2 increasing in recent weeks.”

On Tuesday, Queensland health authorities pointed to the rapid spread of the BA.2 variant among young people for a 15 per cent rise in case numbers over the past week and last week, Victorian health authorities noted the subvariant was turning up in half of the state’s wastewater samples.

Victoria has also had a spike in cases, recording more than 10,000 new infections for two days in a row.

Epidemiologist Katherine Bennett told 7NEWS.com.au the BA.2 variant was impacting most capital cities.

“Infection rates continued to drop down after we eased restrictions, so (the rise is cases) is not because we’ve eased restrictions, it’s because BA.2 is now circulating,” she said.

“With the case rise that we’re seeing right across the world, this variant is now becoming the dominant one.

“But we are seeing death rates globally continue to drop, so that’s the good news.

“We’re struggling to control the spread of these very infectious variants but at the same time, we thankfully aren’t suffering the same consequences in terms of the number of people who end up in hospital.

“People still get very unwell with this, people are dying from these variants so we’ve still got to do everything we can to try and slow that risk of viral spread so that people who are more vulnerable can still breathe easy.”