NSW has recorded another five COVID-related deaths and 262 new locally-acquired infections, as the spread of cases forces the Hunter and Upper Hunter region into lockdown.
The five deaths reported on Thursday included three people in their 60s, one person in their 70s and one person in their 80s.
“I want to convey that unfortunately four out of those five people were not vaccinated at all, and one person had one dose of AstraZeneca,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“No-one who has died has had both doses of vaccine.”
Of the new cases reported on Thursday, at least 45 were infectious in the community.
Hunter and Upper Hunter region to enter lockdown
The premier said the Hunter and Upper Hunter region will go into a one-week lockdown, after virus fragments were detected in the local wastewater system and positive cases were detected overnight.
Five people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the Newcastle area, including four cases recorded after the most recent reporting period.
The source of infection is under investigation but is believed to be linked to a gathering at Blacksmiths Beach, south of Newcastle on Friday.
Dr Chant stressed that while NSW Health’s investigations were still in their initial stages, the virus is believed to be linked to western Sydney.
Ms Berejiklian said the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook local government areas would be impacted by the week-long lockdown, which will start at 5pm Thursday.
The lockdown rules will mirror those of Greater Sydney, where everyone must stay home except for an essential reason.
There are also now nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Central Coast, eight of which live in the same household. Authorities are still investigating the source of those infections, while the ninth case is linked to known cases in the Newcastle area.
Two students from Lake Munmorah Public on the Central Coast and one from Morisset High have tested positive to the virus. Both schools are temporary closed and undergoing cleaning.
Amid concerns about cases spreading outside of Greater Sydney, some sewage detections of the virus have also been found in Armidale and Dubbo.
NSW to receive an extra 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant on Thursday again encouraged NSW residents to get vaccinated, as she said there were 290 COVID cases in hospital and 251 people in intensive care.
“We are seeing young people in ICU,” Dr Chant said.
“We are seeing people in their teens, in their 20s and their 30s, as well as older individuals.
“Now is the time to strongly consider getting vaccinated if you’re over 18.”
Ms Berejiklian welcomed the news that the state would be receiving a fast-tracked supply of almost 185,000 Pfizer doses.
Up to 40,000 Pfizer doses which were taken from the regions to inoculate Year 12 students will be replaced in the week of 16 August.