NSW has confirmed another 1220 local cases of COVID-19 and eight further deaths after modelling suggested Australia’s worst-affected council areas could have as many as 2000 cases a day next week.
The eight people whose deaths were confirmed on Tuesday were aged between 50 and 90.
Six were unvaccinated, while one had received one dose and another was fully vaccinated with significant underlying health conditions.
They include an Indigenous woman in her 70s from far western NSW whose death was confirmed by NSW Health on Monday.
They take the total number linked to the state’s current outbreak to 139.
The first case was reported on June 16 and since then NSW has had 30,456 local cases.
Health officials revealed on Tuesday that 1151 patients had been admitted to hospital, with 192 in intensive care and 75 requiring ventilation.
Federal government data shows NSW had enough capacity for 861 ICU patients as of last Thursday. The Saturday Paper reported last week that 80 per cent of the state’s staffed ICU beds were occupied on that date.
Modelling by the Burnet Institute released this week suggests the 12 LGAs of concern could have up to 2000 cases a day next week.
One bright spot has been the state’s vaccine rollout. After a sluggish start, it has picked up steam and achieved a first-dose vaccination rate of 85 per cent in Blacktown, 82 per cent in Camden, 81 per cent in Parramatta, 76 per cent in Canterbury-Bankstown and 77 per cent in Dubbo.
Many of these areas are in south-west and western Sydney, which continue to report the highest number of infections.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW had reached a 74 per cent first-dose vaccination rate, having administered 7,587,842 jabs.
“There’s time now to get your first dose and fit in your second dose before NSW starts opening up,” she said on Tuesday.
“I want to make that message as strong as possible.”
NSW will ease some restrictions once it has achieved a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination rate. It will move to use only targeted lockdowns once an 80 per cent double-dose rate has been achieved, which is expected before the end of the year.
The NSW government expects many cafe and restaurants owners will require residents to show proof of vaccination to gain entry into their venues once restrictions are eased.
Digital Minister Victor Dominello is said to be putting the finishing touches to a proof-of-vaccination check-in service that will allow patrons to check into a venue and show their vaccination status within the Service NSW app.
At the moment, proof-of-vaccination is available only via the Medicare app, which is separate from the Service NSW service.
“You want it all to be seamless,” the Premier said on Tuesday.
“A lot of venues won’t let you check in because you won’t be vaccinated.”
Of Tuesday’s 1220 local cases in NSW:
- 422 are from Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD)
- 392 are from South Western Sydney LHD
- 128 are from Sydney LHD
- 89 are from South Eastern Sydney LHD
- 74 are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD
- 27 are from Western NSW LHD
- 22 are from Central Coast LHD
- 20 are from Northern Sydney LHD
- 14 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD
- Seven are from Hunter New England LHD
- Seven are in correctional settings
- Four are from Far West LHD
- Two are from Southern NSW LHD
- 12 cases are yet to be assigned to an LHD
Victoria ‘buying time’
Victoria confirmed 246 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, its record worst day so far in its current outbreak.
Of the latest cases, 156 are yet to be linked to known sources. It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 1786.
State health authorities processed 43,858 tests on Monday and 32,300 Victorians received a dose of a COVID vaccine at a state-run hub.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the state had 110 COVID patients in its hospitals – 30 of those are in intensive care, 14 on ventilators.
“To give people a clear sense and hopefully remove any doubt this is everybody’s business, the age range of those ventilated patients is 17 years of age through to 76 years of age,” he said.
“There are people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s in between. So, anyone can fall ill to this. Anyone can become seriously ill to this virus.”
Victoria is in a race to limit case numbers as much as possible as it focuses on its overall vaccination rate.
“That buys our state time to get people through the vaccination program, and it also takes the pressure off our health system,” Mr Andrews said.
Victoria has officially vaccinated 61.4 per cent of its eligible population (people over 16) with at least one dose. Mr Andrews said it was on track to reach its 70 per cent target earlier than expected, with 59,000 bookings made on Monday.