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Australia NSW records 124 new COVID cases on worst day of outbreak so far

12:37  22 july  2021
12:37  22 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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NSW recorded 124 new COVID-19 cases and Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned that number will continue to rise on the state's worst day of the current Delta variant outbreak.

Dozens of the new cases were infectious while in the community, while two aged care homes were locked down after several unvaccinated workers contracted the virus.

Three residents and two staff members at a disability group home in Sydney's north-west have also been infected, although NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said they had all received one COVID-19 vaccine.

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A record 85,185 people were tested in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

Up to 87 of the 124 new cases were in the community while infectious.

That number includes 48 who were in the community for their entire infectious period and 22 who were in the community for part of their infectious period.

The isolation status of 17 people remains under investigation.

"Now, given that number of infectious in the community, I'm expecting case numbers to go up even higher," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

The Premier said the case numbers were "very concerning" and the main areas of transmission were in homes and offices.

"I can't underscore what a serious situation we're in at the moment," Ms Berejiklian said.

Of 118 people in hospital, 28 are in intensive care,  and 14 are on ventilators.

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Dr McAnulty said 15 of those currently admitted to hospital were under the age of 35.

"So this is a serious disease for people of all ages and, importantly, you can spread it even if you don't have a serious disease," he said.

One staff member at The Palm aged care facility in Kirrawee has tested positive, along with two staff members at an aged care facility in Belrose. 

All staff were unvaccinated, and residents and close contacts at those facilities are being tested.

Meanwhile, three clients and two staff members at Unisson Disability Parklea group home have tested positive.

One employee was infectious from July 12 and worked four shifts in the home before getting a positive test result on Tuesday, the group home said in a statement.

NSW Health had been investigating to make sure other people at the home were tested, isolated and cared for, Dr McNaulty said.

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On Tuesday there were about 9,000 Pfizer vaccinations administered at the Sydney Olympic Park hub but only 50 AstraZeneca jabs were given, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

Mr Hazzard urged people to book in for the AstraZeneca jab if they were eligible. 

"I just think we need to take a step back and say, right now we are in the middle of a very serious outbreak here in New South Wales and generally most of us can't afford the luxury of sitting back and saying, 'I don't want to have to vaccine', that has actually been taken by almost every country in the world," he said.

The Premier asked people to seek advice from their GP and book in for a jab.

"The vaccine is key to our freedom. If you're over 40, NSW Health can provide you with AstraZeneca but even if you're under 40 and you really want to get the vaccine, please ask your GP," she said.

The Health Minister said an amendment would soon be made to the health order which meant anyone not wearing a mask in public must have a letter from a medical professional explaining why they were exempt from the rule.

Of the 124 new cases, 54 are from South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 40 are from Western Sydney LHD and 18 are from Sydney LDH.

Despite three local government areas in the state's Central West being plunged into a lockdown yesterday, no new cases were recorded there.

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Sydney lockdown could extend until mid-September .
The NSW crisis cabinet is due to convene later this morning, with an extension to the current lockdown on the cards.Greater Sydney could be in lockdown for another month at least as COVID-19 cases remain stubbornly high, despite tightened measures being imposed.

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