Paterson MP Meryl Swanson slams 'woeful' government response after catching COVID-19

A NSW politician has urged people to "take this as serious as possible" after she and her teenage daughter tested positive for COVID-19.

Peterson MP Meryl Swanson, who is based in NSW's Hunter Valley, was conspicuously absent from media opportunities when Labor leader Anthony Albanese campaigned in the Hunter earlier this week.

She told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday her 17-year-old daughter had tested positive last week.

Ms Swanson developed symptoms and took a test on New Year's Day.

Her husband, Nick, also has taken ill, though he was turned away from the Maitland Showground testing site on Tuesday and opted not to join a long queue at a nearby testing site.

Ms Swanson said she had "started to turn the corner" after suffering severe sinus pain, sweats, a cough, a sore throat and extreme fatigue.

"I did a rapid antigen and tested negative, so I thought I'd dodged a bullet, but a few days later I started to feel quite unwell," she said.


"Nick's test came back negative, but he's gone downhill this morning. I'm a few days in, but a couple of days ago I was just on the bed. I couldn't even talk."

She said her mother, who is in her 90s and lives in a nursing home, "would not survive what I have now".

"My message to the community is to ensure we all take this as serious as possible as it's physically and mentally taxing, even if you're double-vaccinated."

Meryl Swanson is recovering after contracting COVID-19 last week.

Meryl Swanson is recovering after contracting COVID-19 last week.

NSW reported another record daily case tally of 23,131 on Tuesday from only 83,000 tests, a positivity rate of more than 27 per cent.

The true case numbers are likely to be far higher given the state and federal governments have started telling people to get PCR tests only if there is a good chance they are infected. Some people are eschewing long waits at testing stations.

Hospital admissions hit a pandemic-high 1344 in NSW on Tuesday, including 105 patients in intensive care and 27 on ventilators.

In Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, 11,200 people, or 3 per cent of the population, have tested positive in the four weeks since a super-spreader event at Argyle House on December 8.

Hunter New England Health reported 1689 cases and now has 70 COVID patients in hospital, up from 65 on Monday.

A man in his 70s died in John Hunter Hospital after being infected with the coronavirus at Kilpatrick Court nursing home at Toronto.

Ms Swanson criticised Premier Dominic Perrottet on Facebook for the state's handling of the outbreak.

"It wasn't until we went through it that I can fully appreciate how woefully it has been handled," she wrote.

"Firstly, getting information is difficult, the hotline drops out and the information online is so general."

She told the Herald that rapid tests were hard to find and the government should provide them to the general community for free.

"I don't buy this thing that everybody has to get it, because we still don't know if you get omicron whether there'll be some sort of longer-term thing.

"There may not be. It might be that you just feel bad for a couple of weeks then you feel fine."

Businesses were "hurting" due to lack of staff.

"Everyone is just scared because they're thinking they're going to have to close their business. Everyone is frightened because this thing is just spreading so fast."

This story MP slams government response after catching COVID first appeared on Newcastle Herald.