New South Wales has reported 452 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and a further virus-related death over the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said an unvaccinated woman in her 70s from western Sydney had died at Westmead Hospital and warned people to expect daily case numbers to rise.
The virus has now spread to Broken Hill after authorities confirmed a positive case had been infectious for days in the local community and in Wilcannia.
“We envisage that case numbers in the next two or three weeks will bounce around and are likely to rise substantially and we have to brace ourselves for that,” the Premier said.
“But our key aim will be keeping people out of hospital and keeping people alive and that’s why the vaccination rate obviously helps us with that.”
Of the 452 new cases, 129 are linked to a known case or cluster and the source of infection for 323 cases is under investigation.
One hundred and one cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period.
But at least 54 were in the community for all or part of their infectious period, and the isolation status of 297 cases remains under investigation.
Ms Berejiklian said 75 per cent of the new cases were in people aged under 40. This is why the state is directing the extra Pfizer doses it received from the Commonwealth to 16-to-39-year-olds in the local government areas of concern.
Local health authorities said they expect to administer all of the extra 530,000 doses in the 12 LGAs within two and a half weeks.
Ms Berejiklian also called on everybody aged over 70 to get their vaccine as soon as possible. Most deaths during the pandemic have been among the elderly and although the vaccination rate among this age group was now up to 80 per cent in some areas, the Premier said she wanted to see higher vaccination rates among over-70s.
“No matter where you live, no matter your circumstances, if you’re over 70, please go to a New South Wales site, or if you live in the regions, contact your GP, pharmacist or local area health service to find out the closest place to go and get a jab,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Premier has set a target of administering 6 million jabs by the end of August.
On Tuesday, she said the government would seek to lift some lockdown measures once the state reached a vaccination rate of 70 per cent.
This is in line with modelling conducted by the Doherty Institute, but it differs to past suggestions from the Premier that NSW would ease some restrictions once the state hit a vaccination target of 50 per cent. Ms Berejiklian said Dr Chant was still considering her advice as to the restrictions that could be eased once these thresholds were met.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Dr Jeremy McAnulty from NSW Health said it was “great” to see so many people coming forward for testing.
The state reported 151,767 COVID-19 tests over the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday after recording 156,495 the previous day.
But Dr McAnulty said the state was “continuing to see large numbers of people in hospital” as a result of the virus.
At the moment, 447 COVID-19 cases have been admitted to hospital, including 69 people in intensive care, 24 of whom require ventilation.
NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys said the state handed out 579 infringement notices over the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.
“The message, if it’s not already there, [is that] people must really start to understand and take heed that if you’re going to breach public health orders anywhere in this state, you will be caught,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“The time is over in terms of warnings and cautions. Policing will continue at this level not just tomorrow, not just this week, but over the next 21 days, when we have police rostered to perform Operation Stay at Home.”
The new enforcement operation was announced on Sunday and involves 1400 Highway Patrol Officers patrolling back roads and setting up roadblocks to ensure greater compliance with lockdown restrictions.
VIC reports 24 new cases; ACT records 17
Ms Berejiklian’s press conference came hours after Victorian health authorities reported another 24 locally acquired cases of the coronavirus on its first full day of stricter lockdown measures.
Health authorities confirmed 21 of the new cases had been linked to known outbreaks while the source of three infections remained under investigation.
Fourteen of the 24 cases were in isolation during their infectious period.
On Tuesday, the ACT reported 17 new local cases, bringing the total number linked to its current outbreak to 45.
Ten of the new cases in the ACT are linked to known outbreaks; three have been classified as unlinked; and the remaining four were reported overnight and have been prioritised for follow-up this morning.
The number of mystery cases in Canberra has therefore risen to eight. The other 37 are linked to known outbreaks.
None of the 45 cases are in hospital but more than 7500 people have been asked to quarantine at home.
The number of exposure sites in Canberra has written to 80.