People in rural NSW are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 and jabbed, while one regional community is being lauded for almost doubling its first dose vaccination coverage in a single week.
NSW had 1220 more local cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths in the 24 hours until 8pm on Monday, taking the number of infections in the current outbreak past 30,000.
At least 76 of the new cases were in regional health districts.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said some communities had made great strides in improving their vaccination rates. He particularly commended Lachlan, in the state’s central-west – where first dose rates jumped from 33 per cent to 64 per cent in a week.
He urged residents to get tested and vaccinated on the central coast, where 22 cases emerged overnight, a jump on just eight in the previous 24 hours.
“We’re calling out for that community to be vigilant, get tested and make sure we continue to see vaccination rates go up,” he said.
“They’re slightly below the state average.”
There were 27 cases in western NSW, 18 of which were in Dubbo, three in both Bourke and Narromine, and one each for Walgett, Orange and Brewarrina, bringing that health district’s case total to 858.
Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders said mobile at-home testing services were available and second doses for vaccinations will start on Monday.
In the far west, there were four new cases, two in Broken Hill and two in Wilcannia, where more than 13 per cent of the predominantly Indigenous population has tested positive for the virus.
An emergency management centre has been established at Wilcannia’s showground, housing personnel and staging response activities with emergency services and volunteers.
The first of 30 campervans to help people isolate have arrived in town.
There were 14 cases in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area, seven across the Hunter New England region and two in southern NSW – one in Bateman’s Bay and one in Cooma.
The government is yet to announce any extension to the lockdown for regional NSW, which is scheduled to lift on Friday.
Asked about the plan to support regional communities in managing outbreaks, chief health officer Kerry Chant said NSW Health might pre-emptively move patients if an ICU in a regional area was under pressure.
“Will [the system] be stretched at one point in time? Yes. But everyone is in it together,” she said.