New South Wales has had another record-breaking day with 1218 new Covid cases, just days after Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised to reopen ‘certain industries’ as early as October.
The premier said at a press conference on Sunday that the state also had its highest-ever week of jabs, with a whopping 834,000 people rolling up their sleeves.
She said 65 per cent of the population have had one dose, and 35 per cent have had two.
‘So we are halfway to that magic 70 per cent number across the state in order to have those extra freedoms,’ she said.
Ms Berejiklian said the government is ‘looking forward to providing freedoms’ once 70 per cent of the population has had a double dose.
Six people died in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, including three people in their 80s and three people in their 70s.
Four were unvaccinated and two only had one dose.
Dr Jeremy McNulty from NSW Health acknowledged that it is ‘very difficult to know’ whether someone with Covid died from the virus, or another health complication.
‘We know when elderly people die, they can have a range of comorbidities, and also, being old increases your risk of death,’ he said.
‘Covid may often play a role in the death, but it may not, sometimes, some of our cases who have sadly died appear to have recovered from Covid, and then they have died of something.
‘We report people who have died with Covid, unless there is a very clear alternative.’
Businesses are expected to reopen once 70 per cent of the population has been vaccinated – a target which is expected to be achieved in mid-October
On Friday, 156,165 people came forward to get vaccinated – the highest daily vaccination rate number the state has seen thus far
Ms Berejiklian also urged people not to worry about case numbers, but to focus on vaccination numbers instead.
‘In other countries around the world, we see a doubling or tripling of cases throughout the day in unvaccinated populations but we are seeing in NSW that the vaccines are holding up well,’ she said.
‘Hospitalisation is declining. People in intensive care would have been much larger if we did not have a brace on to vaccinate up population.’
She also reminded residents that they will have to learn to live with Covid for the foreseeable future.
‘I am encouraging people to start preparing forward lived with Covid-19. When we get to 70 per cent double dose, we will have to shift our mindset.
‘What will matter the most will be keeping people out of hospital and measuring intensive care patients and hospitalisation as opposed to the number of cases.’
There are currently 126 people in ICU – 113 of whom are not vaccinated, 12 who have had one dose and one who has received both doses.
When asked about the figures, Ms Berejiklian acknowledged it was a ‘scary time’ and said October could see even more people in intensive care.
‘Given that case numbers are where they are I suspect that in October we will probably have the highest that we do have in intensive care,’ she said.
‘I do not think we have reached the peak but how hard we work now will keep people out of hospital and that is important.’
Plans are now reportedly being considered by the NSW government to ban patrons from entering pubs and restaurants unless they’ve had the jab.
There is also a possibility all hospitality staff and patrons will need prove they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine before entering bars and restaurants.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Saturday that Covid restrictions on weddings in NSW are set to be eased from 12:01am on Friday September 3.
Wedding ceremonies will be allowed to go ahead with up to five guests on top of the people required for the actual service.
On Saturday, NSW reported 1,035 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and two deaths on Saturday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that the Delta strain will still exist in the community even when businesses reopen
Two women aged in their 70s and 80s died in Sydney hospitals overnight. Pictured: A man receiving Pfizer in Belmore on Saturday
Two women aged in their 70s and 80s died in Sydney hospitals overnight.
The younger woman, from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District in Sydney’s west, had received both doses of the vaccine but had underlying health conditions, while the other was unvaccinated.
She died at Westmead Hospital.
There were 778 patients with Covid being treated in hospital on Saturday, 125 of those are in intensive care and 52 require ventilation.
Paramedics in NSW are being stretched as the state continues to accumulate COVID-19 infections by the hundreds each day, with demand equivalent to the ‘busiest New Year’s Eve’.
At least two western Sydney hospitals – Westmead and Blacktown – have called ‘code yellows’ this week as their caseload climbs.
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan on Saturday said there had been so many calls for ambulances in the past three days it was the equivalent demand on paramedics as the ‘busiest New Year’s Eve’.
On Friday alone, Mr Morgan said 450 patients required paramedic assistance for suspected or actual COVID-19.
‘When we receive calls that do not require an ambulance immediately, it can have dire consequences,’ he said, noting an instance of an ambulance taking 25 minutes to get to an 18-year-old suffering from cardiac arrest.
Health authorities are also concerned about ever-escalating outbreaks in the state’s west and far west.
Of the new cases diagnosed in NSW on Friday, 46 were diagnosed in the state’s west and far west.