The COVID-19 crisis in NSW is showing no signs of easing, with the state recording it’s worst day of the pandemic yet.
A record 1029 new local coronavirus cases have been detected in the past 24 hours, the biggest daily increase in the whole country since the start of the pandemic.
There has also been a further three deaths, with a man in his 30s, man in his 60s, and a man in his 80s all passing away.
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It takes the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 during the state’s latest outbreak to 79.
As a result of the spike in cases, the State Government has confirmed the regional lockdown, which was due to end this weekend, will be extended for at least another two weeks.
It means a number of LGAs, including the Tweed Shire Local Government Area, will remain housebound
The extension is in line with existing orders for the Greater Sydney area.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he understands the news will be tough for many, but stressed the threat of the virus is still far too high.
In some good news, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced new freedoms for people who have been fully vaccinated, as a reward for the state hitting 6 million jabs.
From 13 September, five people will be allowed to gather outdoors if they are all fully vaccinated.
“We know people coming together is what people miss the most,” the Premier said.
“From the various options we looked at, that was the option that met the mental health needs and wellbeing of our community, but also provided the lowest-risk setting.”
“The news is that if you live outside the areas of concern, so long as the adults are fully vaccinated, five people can gather for an outdoor gathering,” Ms Berejiklian said.
While households who live in the LGAs of concern will be able to gather outdoors for recreation, including picnics, for one hour only, 5km from home, as long as all adults are fully vaccinated.
Of today’s new locally acquired cases, 185 are linked to a known case or cluster, with the source of infection for the remaining 844 cases still under investigation.
Only 91 were in isolation throughout their infectious period, with at least 94 out and about in the community while infectious.
The isolation status of 844 cases remains under investigation.
Fragments of the virus have also been detected at sewage treatment plants in Tamworth, Merimbula, Cooma and Brewarrina.
“These detections are a concern as there are no known cases in these areas,” NSW Health said.
“Everyone in this area is urged to monitor for the onset of symptoms, and if they appear, to immediately be tested and isolate until a negative result is received.”
There are currently 698 COVID-19 cases in hospital, with 116 people in intensive care, 43 of whom require ventilation.
More than 151,272 people in NSW came forward for testing in the past 24 hours.