New South Wales has recorded its worst day of the pandemic so far, with a worrying 466 new local COVID-19 cases detected in the past 24 hours.
The state has also recorded a further four deaths, including two women in their 40s and 70s and two men in their 70s and 80s.
It brings the total number of COVID-related deaths during the current outbreak to 43.
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Of today’s local cases, at least 95 were in the community for all or part of their infectious periods.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described today as the “most concerning day” of the state’s outbreak to date.
“Very concerningly, we had 466 cases of community transmission… This is the largest jump we have seen in a night,” the Premier said.
“We are really extremely concerned about the situation in NSW”.
Restrictions are now being extended for the Armidale Regional Local Government Area, including the towns of Armidale and Guyra, until midnight Sunday 22 August.
“Following updated health advice from the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant about the growing risk to the community, stay-at-home orders will apply to all people who live in these areas or have been there on or after 29 July 2021,” NSW Health said.
The rules for the area will be the same as those already in place across Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, and Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and Cessnock.
Fragments of the virus have also been detected at the Ballina and Broken Hill sewage treatment plants, with residents there urged to remain extremely vigilant.
“These areas are of particular concern, as there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Ballina or Broken Hill,” NSW Health said.
“Everyone in these areas 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.”
As a result of the growing COVID-19 crisis, NSW Police are launching “Operation Stay At Home” from midnight on Sunday, with another 500 Australian Defence Force Officers being deployed.
It will see fines increased, with those caught breaching home quarantine, lying on a permit and lying to a contact tracer all slapped with $5000.
While fines for breaching the two-person exercise rule and rules surrounding travelling into regional NSW will increase to $3000.
It comes after the Premier reduced the movement limit for Greater Sydney residents from 10 kilometres to 5 kilometres from home.