The deaths of six more people and 1063 more local COVID cases have been reported in NSW.
The latest fatalities, which take the state’s toll in its Delta outbreak to 266, were four women and two men aged from their 50s to their 90s.
First-dose vaccine rates in NSW have reached 83.6 per cent, while 55.5 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
“It is going up at about 0.5 per cent each day for the first doses. The second doses two days ago were sitting at 53 per cent; they are going up a per cent a day for second doses,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Thursday.
“That is quite remarkable and I want to thank everybody who is going out and doing their bit for the community and for themselves and getting vaccinated.”
In further optimistic news for NSW, the number of daily cases is dropping significantly in the outbreak’s epicentre – western and south-western Sydney.
Mr Hazzard said 220 of Thursday’s cases were from western Sydney, compared to 444 on September 11. South-western Sydney accounted for 294 more infections on Thursday, down from 490 on September 11.
“You are making a difference to us all,” he said.
NSW Health chief paediatrician Dr Matthew O’Meara singled out the “remarkable” vaccination rate among the state’s 12-15-year-olds. After becoming eligible for COVID shots only weeks ago, 28 per cent of the age group has had one dose.
“That is over 110,000 children who have had that dose. Now, they are on their way to being well protected against COVID-19,” Dr O’Meara said.
NSW will also lift stay-at-home orders for more regional areas from midnight Thursday. Lockdowns will end in Glen Innes and Orange, where there has been no more transmission of the virus.
However, the orders will be extended in the Hilltops local government area, which includes the town of Young, for a further week from Friday after more infections were detected.
There have been detections of the virus in wastewater in Grafton, prompting a warning from authorities.
NSW has 1244 COVID patients in its hospitals. Of those, 233 are in intensive care, including 112 on ventilators.