NSW has reported 1599 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and at least eight deaths.
The deaths included three men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, two people in their 70s and two in their 80s. All were unvaccinated and had underlying health conditions.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Saturday praised regional areas for boosting vaccination numbers.
Some 114,546 vaccination jabs were administered on Thursday, including 26,254 in regional areas.
NSW has now exceeded eight million vaccine doses.
Most of the state is locked down as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain of the virus.
Cases are expected to peak in the next week, putting significant strain on hospitals and ambulances.
Meanwhile, thousands of NSW residents in a handful of COVID-free regional areas are enjoying their first day of freedom in four weeks.
Stay-at-home restrictions have lifted for much of the state’s northeast and southwest, including the regional centres of Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Albury.
Masks are mandatory at indoor public venues, but hospitality venues, shops, sporting facilities and beauty services have all been cleared to reopen with restrictions.
Up to to five people will be allowed in a home and up to 20 can gather outdoors.
Entertainment venues like cinemas and theatres can also open with conditions, and outdoor and stadium events can also resume, with limits on attendees.
Weddings and funerals will be limited to 50 people, with churches and places of worship to open subject to the four square metre rule and no singing.