News State NSW News NSW reports another 199 new local cases
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NSW reports another 199 new local cases

New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian august 2
New South Wales has reported another 199 new locally acquired cases. Photo: AAP
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NSW has reported 199 more locally acquired cases as paramedics warn the pandemic has pushed them to breaking point.

“Unfortunately, 50 of those were infectious in the community and that’s the number we’re really watching to try and get down as much as we can,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

“Again, workplaces and households are the main places where the virus is transmitting, so we urge everybody, if you must leave the house, to assume that everybody you’re coming into contact with has the virus.”

Ms Berejiklian said transmission of the coronavirus was still mostly in the eight high-risk local government areas across Sydney.

She asked that other Sydneysiders avoided even going to those areas unless it was absolutely necessary.

“Unfortunately, as cruel as this sounds, we want as little human contact with each other as possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The Premier also doubled down on her call to arms to get vaccinated – setting six million jabs by the end of August as a new target for her government. NSW has so far administered about 3.97 million jabs.

Ms Berejiklian said the state was on course to hit that target, based on current vaccination rates. It would mean the NSW population had had at least one COVID shot by the end of August.

She said the extent to which the government could relax restrictions on August 29 – when the current lockdown is due to end – would depend on a combination of case numbers and vaccination rates.

Previously, the Premier had alluded to easing restrictions once the state hits a 50 per cent vaccination rate, which appeared to contradict official advice to the federal government from the Doherty Institute.

Pressed to explain this contradiction on Tuesday, Ms Berejiklian said she would “never relax completely at 50 per cent vaccination rates”.

I want to be clear about that,” she said. 

Rather, hitting the 50 per cent threshold would give the government “more options” to ease some restrictions.

Every milestone we hit gives the government more options,” she said.

Infectious in the community

Of Tuesday’s 199 cases, 88 were linked to a known case or cluster and the source of 111 cases remained under investigation.

Seventy cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period, and the case numbers came from 104,536 COVID-19 tests.

But with the bulk of infections coming from critical workplaces and households, 82 cases were in the community for at least part of their infectious period.

The isolation status of a further 47 cases is also yet to be determined.

Tuesday’s figures take the total number of cases linked to the current outbreak to 3832. A further 15 people have lost their lives since June 16.

Paramedic warning

Tuesday’s figures came after the state reported 207 new local cases on Monday amid an outbreak linked to an aged care home in Summer Hill.

Queensland also reported 16 new local cases on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Australian Paramedics Association has demanded better PPE and safety practices, as well as greater hospital capacity and rapid antigen testing in response to the COVID-19 crisis in NSW.

The union said the outbreak had left paramedics at breaking point and living in fear of contracting the virus and spreading it to their families.

“This system is not under pressure, it’s broken,” APA assistant secretary Alan O’Riordan said on Tuesday.

“The public would be horrified if they could see what our day-to-day work was like in the middle of the outbreak.

“Every paramedic I know is at breaking point. We are scared for our safety, our families’ safety, and the safety of the community.”

State health officials said on Tuesday that 250 people had been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 and 53 were in intensive care, of whom 20 were on ventilation.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant again stressed that people of all ages were being struck with serious illness.

We’ve got 53 cases in ICU and I think this underscores the severity of COVID and our data indicates that we are seeing more hospitalisations associated with the Delta strain,” Dr Chant said.

We have five cases in their 20s, six in their 30s, three in their 40s, 18 in their 50s, 11 in their 60s and 10 in their 70s.

“A key piece of information is that of the 53 people in ICU, 43 people are not vaccinated. So my big callout is to get vaccinated, across all of the age groups.”

– with AAP