NSW has seen likely events of COVID-19 transmission in bars and gyms since the state opened up nearly two weeks ago.
NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said the “likely transmission” in high-risk indoor venues was a reminder to maintain COVID-safe behaviours at all times.
“It’s important that we all use masks when indoors,” Dr McAnulty said in a video update on Saturday.
Even fully-vaccinated people should come forward for testing if they experience symptoms, he said.
Vaccination is “very effective” but not perfect, and breakthrough infections can still occur, Dr McAnulty warned.
The state recorded 332 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, a slight dip on the previous day’s numbers. The number of people in hospital also dropped, to 469 from 482, with 123 people in intensive care.
Two people died, including a fully-vaccinated man in his 60s who picked up his infection at an aged care facility in Albury, the second death linked to the facility.
Scary time ahead
With Halloween looming next weekend, Dr McAnulty advised on how to celebrate in a COVID-safe way.
Keep the celebration outdoors, go for treats that are packaged and don’t use a communal lolly bowl, he recommended.
Families should also stick to their local neighbourhoods for trick-or-treating and be careful not to share costume masks.
The Hunter-New England area continues to see a surge in cases, with that local health district recording more infections than any other in the latest reporting period.
Some 78 cases were diagnosed there, with 69 in the southwestern Sydney local health district, 37 each in the western Sydney and Murrumbidgee local health districts, and 22 in the mid-north coast.
Meanwhile, the NSW government on Saturday announced a $25 million support package for community sport, which has languished amid months of lockdowns.
“Community sport is the heart and soul of our state,” said Premier Dominic Perrottet, shortly before joining Sports Minister Natalie Ward and Treasurer Matt Kean to shoot some hoops on a Thornleigh basketball court.
“We know that community sport has gone through a very difficult time … but we’re open again. We’re open for business, we’re open for sport.”
Some 10,000 sporting organisations can apply for $1000 grants from a $12.5 million pool to help them get back on their feet and get children on the court.
Support for sport
In the western and southwest Sydney local government areas that were subject to heightened restrictions, as well as regional NSW, $3.1 million will support participation initiatives for kids in sport.
More than 100 peak sporting bodies are also eligible for $7.8 million in funding.
Young sportspeople from the regions gearing up for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics will also have the benefit of a $600,000 fund.
Saturday night will see more than 20,000 fully-vaccinated sporting fans file into Sydney’s CommBank Stadium to watch the Matildas take on Brazil.
The crowd will include 600 healthcare workers given free tickets as a thankyou for their hard work during the pandemic.
Mr Perrottet said he wanted to hold as many events across the state as possible – as long as they are approved by NSW Health.