NSW will allocate emergency funding to support music teachers hit hard by months of COVID lockdowns and school closures as the pandemic’s death toll continues to grow.
The state posted 7,893 COVID-19 cases and a further 28 virus-related deaths on Sunday morning.
There are currently 2,321 coronavirus patients in the state’s hospitals, 147 of whom are in intensive care.
Treasurer Matt Kean said businesses such as overnight camp and music education providers impacted by school COVID safety measures in late 2021 will now have access to a $14 million grant program.
“The grants will provide eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations one-off payments equal to 40 per cent of their decline in Term 4 2021 turnover compared to previous years, up to $15,000,” Mr Kean said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, elective surgery will return on Monday, ahead of schedule following a fall in hospitalisations.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday hospitals were operating “well within capacity”, opening the door for those surgeries to resume in private and non-metropolitan public hospitals next week.
The decision to cancel elective surgery was made in January, as daily case numbers topped 38,000.
A review into the situation was initially slated for mid-February but advice from NSW Health now says private, regional and rural public hospitals can return to up to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic activity on Monday.
Waiting times for elective surgery can stretch as long as seven weeks, with hospitals back-logged with bookings from cancellations over 2020.
Some 94 per cent of eligible NSW adults are double vaccinated against COVID, while 43.5 per cent have received a third dose. Of children aged 5 to 11, 42.8 per cent have now had their first jab.