Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again warned that health authorities expected a peak in cases in the next fortnight.
“The next fortnight is likely to be our worst in terms of the number of cases,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“But as I have said, it is not the number of cases we need to be focusing on, but how many of those cases and up in our intensive care wards and hospitals.
“And how many people we have vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Ms Berejiklian reiterated her warning October will see a higher number of cases and deaths than ever before.
But she also said the health system has been planning for this for “18 months”.
“We will need to do things differently but that has already been planned for,” Ms Berejiklian said.
She added that intensive care units may be expanded into other parts of hospitals during the surge.
“Just because you hear about something done differently, I don’t want people to be concerned by that because that is what is in our pandemic plan,” she said.
“That is what we have planned and prepared for. So, you will hear examples of how things are done differently.
“Our hospital staff have been trained, redeployed, that is why we have taken a pause on some things because when you know you are going to get the worst caseloads or worst hospitalisation, you do have to make amends and pause but it is only a temporary situation.”
One of the 12 deaths announced today was a woman in her 30s from south-west Sydney.
She died with coronavirus at her home, just one day after testing positive to the virus.
“Investigations are underway into the source of her infection, she was not vaccinated,” NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale said.
Nearly 11,000 people with coronavirus are being cared for by NSW Health.
The majority of these people are in the community or in health hotels.
There are 979 people in hospital and 160 in ICU – 63 of which are ventilated.
More than 827,000 have come forward to get vaccinated in the past week.
Breakdown on regional NSW cases
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has provided a breakdown of the cases reported in the regions:
- 53 cases in Western NSW local health district, including 31 in Dubbo, 11 in Bourke, six in Bathurst, two in Walgett, one in Gilgandra, one in Narromine
- Seven cases in the far west, all in Wilcannia
- 13 in the Illawarra, including nine in Wollongong, two in Shellharbour
- 11 in the Hunter New England region – four in Port Stephens, two in Lake Macquarie, two in Newcastle, one in Maitland, one in the Upper Hunter and one in Armidale
A fleet of 30 motorhomes has been sent to the regional town of Wilcannia to help people infected with coronavirus isolate away from their homes and families.
The town, which has a large Aboriginal population, recorded seven new cases today.
“The Department of Rural and Regional New South Wales are working together to make sure we make this as easy as possible and absolutely, it is in line with community sentiment and community expectation and we will keep working at it, refine it and send it up if we need to,” Mr Barilaro said.
He was also asked about the spread of misinformation around vaccines in the community.
“I don’t think that is just Indigenous communities, it is happening across regional and rural New South Wales, across Australia and the globe,” Mr Barilaro said.
“There is a lot of misinformation across the internet and the debate between AstraZeneca and Pfizer, AstraZeneca is abundant and safe and effective and available.”
He urged people to “get off social media” and listen to leaders within the community.
Kids are doing it tough
NSW Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright has asked parents to look out for any changes in their children as home-schooling and lockdown continues.
“I think it is reasonable if there is any kind of change in behaviour in your school-aged children at this time to assume that is actually a statement of distress and take the opportunity to find out what is causing that distress,” Dr Wright said.
“Quite often the things which are upsetting to our children are actually things that they have overheard, misunderstood or misinterpreted.
“It is really important to try and have these conversations and to validate their distress, to acknowledge the things that they are missing out on and that they may have lost as a consequence of the restrictions, but to do so in a way that is non-judgemental.
“It is important to be validating, to be optimistic, to be reassuring, and to be encouraging of what is going to happen in the future.
“These things are really difficult to do when you are juggling all the other things that we are juggling every day. And the conversations should not be on the run.
“It is probably a good idea to have a regular conversation as a family, perhaps over a family meal, to discuss these things when you are less likely to be distracted by other things, and so it is not just talking it is listening and getting a really good opportunity for the family to discuss these things.”
He added that children “very easily react to strong emotions that are happening in the house” and there are resources available to help with your kids’ mental health.
More vaccinations arrive
The precious cargo landed last night on board flight SQ 7292.
The 500,000 Pfizer shots are due to expire and in return Australia will send the same number of doses back to Singapore in December.
The vaccine will undergo batch testing by the TGA before being distributed equally across the country based on the population of each state and territory.
“This deal gives us the further supplies we need as we bring new groups into the program for Pfizer, including 12- to 15-year-olds from September 13, and the 16 to 39 age group that has already commenced,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Small freedoms for high-risk LGAs
The arrival comes as some restrictions have now eased for residents living in the 12 Sydney local government areas where coronavirus cases are at their highest.
People in south-western and western Sydney can now exercise outdoors for as long as they want, with the one hour limit scrapped. The 9pm to 5am curfew remains.
But that curfew is reportedly now under review with the limits impacting shift workers.
And weddings are back on but with strict rules in place.
Couples can now tie the knot with no more than five guests, plus the wedding party – the two people getting married, two witnesses required for the marriage, one person conducting the service and one person to photograph or film the wedding.
Travel limits are also in place for those who can attend the wedding.
Ms Berejiklian yesterday confirmed NSW had reached seven million jabs, with 70 per cent of residents receiving their first dose.