NSW has reported a record 356 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and at least 97 of those people were circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
Four people have also died - a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 80s, as well as a returned traveller in his 80s unlinked to the current outbreak. All were unvaccinated. Greater Sydney and surrounding regions are in lockdown until at least August 28, as health authorities battle to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta strain.
The NSW Hunter, Byron Bay, Armidale and Tamworth areas are also currently enduring snap lockdowns. "We know NSW is going through challenging times but we also know vaccination is a key tool in reducing the spread and preventing hospitalisation," Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
"It's so sad when you hear about deaths especially of elderly people who unfortunately for whatever reason weren't vaccinated." The death toll from the current outbreak now sits at 32. There are 60 COVID-19 patients in NSW in intensive care, with 28 ventilated.
More than 80 per cent of the NSW population is currently in lockdown as the state struggles to curb the spread of the Delta COVID-19 strain. About 6,571,800 residents have been placed into lockdown.
Byron Bay and surrounding local government areas in northern NSW entered a snap seven-day lockdown from 6pm on Monday after a man from Sydney travelled there about a week ago and subsequently tested positive. Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon said locals feared an outbreak and there was no record of venues the man had visited.
"What we do know is he hadn't been checking in anywhere, hasn't used QR codes, hasn't been self-isolating when he got sick, he didn't get tested until he was really sick," he told ABC radio on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant will be quizzed at a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday about their handling of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Ms Berejiklian has set a goal of six million vaccinations by the end of August in order to consider easing lockdown settings. About 4.5 million jabs have been administered so far.
AAP With The Project