New South Wales has had another record day with 1,218 new Covid cases, just days after Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian promised to reopen ‘certain industries’ as early as October.
The prime minister said at a news conference on Sunday that the state also had its highest-ever week of jabs, with as many as 834,000 people rolling up their sleeves.
She said 65 percent of the population has had one dose and 35 percent has had two.
“So we’re halfway through that magic number of 70 percent statewide to have those extra freedoms,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said the government “looks forward to offering liberties” once 70 percent of the population has had a double dose.
Six people died in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Saturday, including three people in their 80s and three people in their 70s.
Four were unvaccinated and two had only one dose.
dr. NSW Health’s Jeremy McNulty acknowledged that it is “very difficult” to know if someone with Covid has died from the virus or from another health complication.
“We know that when the elderly die, they can have a range of co-morbidities, and also being old increases the risk of death,” he said.
“Covid may often play a role in death, but sometimes it seems that some of our cases that have died unfortunately have recovered from Covid, and then they died of something.
“We report people who have died from Covid unless there is a very clear alternative.”
Businesses are expected to reopen once 70 percent of the population has been vaccinated – a target expected to be reached by mid-October
On Friday, 156,165 people came forward to get vaccinated — the highest number of daily vaccinations the state has seen to date
Ms Berejiklian also urged people not to worry about the number of cases but instead to focus on vaccination rates.
“In other countries around the world, we’re seeing a doubling or tripling of cases during the day in unvaccinated populations, but we’re seeing in NSW the vaccines are holding up well,” she said.
“Hospitalization is declining. The people in intensive care would have been much bigger if we didn’t have braces to vaccinate the population.’
She also reminded residents that they will have to learn to live with Covid in the near future.
“I encourage people to prepare for life with Covid-19. If we get 70 percent double dose, we will have to change our mindset.
“The most important thing is to keep people out of the hospital and measure intensive care patients and hospital admissions rather than the number of cases.”
There are currently 126 people in the ICU – 113 of whom have not been vaccinated, 12 who have received one dose and one who has received both doses.
When asked about the numbers, Ms Berejiklian acknowledged it was a “scary time” and said October could see even more people in intensive care.
“Given that the number of cases is where they are, I suspect that in October we will probably have the highest we have in intensive care,” she said.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked, but how hard we work now will keep people out of the hospital and that’s important.”
Plans are now reportedly being considered by the NSW government to ban customers from entering pubs and restaurants unless they have had the jab.
It is also possible that all catering staff and customers must prove that 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 will be relaxed from 12:01 am on Friday, September 3.
Wedding ceremonies are allowed to continue with a maximum of five guests in addition to the people needed for the actual service.
On Saturday, NSW reported 1,035 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and two deaths on Saturday.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian warned that the Delta strain will still exist in the community even as businesses reopen
Two women, aged between 70 and 80, died overnight in Sydney hospitals. Pictured: A man receiving Pfizer in Belmore on Saturday
Two women, aged between 70 and 80, died overnight in Sydney hospitals.
The younger woman, from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District in western Sydney, had received both doses of the vaccine but had underlying health problems, while the other had not been vaccinated.
She died at Westmead Hospital.
On Saturday, 778 patients with Covid were treated in hospital, of which 125 are in intensive care and 52 require ventilators.
Paramedics in NSW are being stretched as the state continues to accumulate hundreds of COVID-19 infections every day, with demand equating to the “busiest New Year’s Eve.”
At least two hospitals in western Sydney – Westmead and Blacktown – have called ‘code yellow’ this week as their cases rise.
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan said on Saturday that so many ambulances had been called in the past three days that there was as much demand for paramedics as the “busiest New Year’s Eve.”
On Friday alone, Mr Morgan said 450 patients required allied health care for suspected or actual COVID-19.
“If we receive calls that don’t require an ambulance immediately, it could have serious consequences,” he said, noting that it took an ambulance 25 minutes to get to an 18-year-old in cardiac arrest.
Health authorities are also concerned about growing outbreaks in the western and far west of the state.
Of the new cases diagnosed in NSW on Friday, 46 were diagnosed in the western and far west of the state.