There are 2501 more cases of COVID-19 in NSW and no deaths as the Premier resists calls to reinstate mask mandates.
The infections reported on Monday are down 65 on Sunday’s record high of 2566.
There are 261 COVID-19 patients in hospital across the state – up from 227. They include 33 in intensive care – up from 28.
A total of 144,368 tests were carried out in the 24-hour period, while 94.9 per cent of people aged 16 and older in NSW have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The total fully jabbed has reached 93.4 per cent.
More than 81 per cent of NSW residents aged 12-15 have had one dose of a vaccine and 78.1 per cent have had both doses.
With Christmas fast approaching, Premier Dominic Perrottet has written an editorial in the Daily Telegraph calling for calm as virus numbers surge.
“Case numbers are bound to rise, just as the modelling predicted, and we are all likely to have a close encounter with COVID,” he said.
“This is not to be taken lightly.
“The safety of the community is and always will be our top priority, and if the trajectory of an outbreak appears likely to put our health system under excessive pressure, we will change our approach, tailoring it to the circumstances and the evidence,” he said.
“For now, that is not the case.”
NSW is urging people to keep wearing masks indoors while other health experts are calling for mask mandates to return in those settings.
Dan Suan, an immunologist at Westmead Hospital, said the new Omicron variant was so contagious that urgent action was required.
“Sydney is sleepwalking into a catastrophic disaster in January if we don’t do something about it right now,” he said in a Facebook post.
However, Mr Perrottet said it was a personal decision.
“It is time to shift the balance back to personal responsibility, because a strong, healthy society is built not on the dictates of government, but on the common pursuit of the common good,” he said.
On Sunday, Mr Perrottet insisted high testing rates, high vaccine rates and booster shots would protect the community.
Almost 60,000 booster jabs were administered by NSW health workers last week, up from 15,000 the week before. NSW Health aims to administer double that number this week.
Mr Perrottet said rising case numbers were “the new normal” and the key metric was intensive care presentations.
It was “incredibly positive” that they had so far held steady despite a huge surge in infections, he said.