New local virus cases in NSW have fallen to 65, but more than half are still active in the community while infectious.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Thursday’s tally was a welcome drop, after 97 infections reported on Wednesday.
It is the lowest number of new infections in NSW in five days.
But Ms Berejiklian has again pleaded with NSW residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary – and warned numbers are likely to rise again on Friday.
Of the latest cases, 28 were out and about throughout their infectious period while another seven spent at least part of that time in the community.
“Based on the fact that we had 28 people infectious in the community in the last 24 hours, I am predicting that we will have higher case numbers tomorrow,” she said.
“Whilst the case numbers are bouncing around, we are seeing a stabilisation. They’re not growing exponentially. That tells us that the settings that we have in place are having an impact. My strongest message to everybody is keep doing what you are doing.”
Ms Berejiklian said many of the cases who were in the community while infectious were seeking medical help, often from pharmacies or GPs.
She again urged people who had respiratory symptoms and wanted to seek medical treatment to phone their GP first.
Thursday’s case numbers came from more than 56,000 tests across NSW in the previous 24-hour period. The outbreak that began in Bondi in mid-July has now grown to 929 cases.
The state has 73 COVID-19 cases in hospital. They include 19 people in intensive care, five of whom require ventilation.
The age range in ICU includes people from their 20s to their 80s.
Virus infection numbers continue to rise in south-west Sydney and a new 24-hour COVID testing clinic has opened at Fairfield after people were forced to wait up to six hours in long queues at another venue.
There are now three testing sites in the area operating around the clock.
The clinics were inundated on Wednesday after health orders were introduced requiring essential workers to get tested every three days if they work outside the area.
Two of Sydney’s major hospitals are also on high alert after a nurse and a patient were both diagnosed with COVID-19.
A pregnant patient at Liverpool Hospital, in Sydney’s south-west, was diagnosed on Wednesday after undergoing a procedure.
The hospital cancelled elective surgery to deep clean the operating theatre and contact tracing is underway with close contacts – including staff –- being tested and isolating for 14 days, NSW Health said.
A nurse who worked at Westmead Hospital in the COVID-19 ward has also tested positive for the virus but there were no cases linked to the health worker so far, the ABC reports.
There is also a positive case in a worker at a Camperdown cancer treatment centre, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said areas for increased concern on Thursday included Fairfield Heights, Smithfield, Canley Heights, Fairfield West, Bankstown, Condor Park, Hurstville, Roselands, Rosebery, Canterbury, Belmore, the Georges River area and the Liverpool local government area.
“Those are a broad area and they reflect where we know there has been infectious cases in the community. There is a case in today’s numbers from Emu Plains who was in the community during that infectious period,” she said.
“The case is unlinked and under investigation. There was also a previous case in Emu Plains in the last week with no known source. So this is of concern to us.”