NSW records 282 new local COVID-19 cases and one death as eight more schools close

NSW Health said 93.1 per cent of people 16 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 85 per cent of adults are now fully vaccinated.

There are 457 patients with the virus in NSW hospitals, 109 of them in intensive care.

Meanwhile, a day after all NSW students returned to face-to-face teaching, eight more schools are closed for cleaning and contact tracing after a person in the school community was diagnosed with COVID-19.

NSW Health has issued a list of strict measures that will be implemented when year 12 students sit their HSC next month – including the requirement to wear masks during the exams.

Exams begin on 9 November and NSW Health says a suite of measures will be enforced to ensure COVID-19 protocols are observed.

Students will not be allowed to borrow or share equipment such as pens, pencils or calculators, and shaking hands or hugging other students is also banned.

After the exams students will be required to wipe down their chair, and no mingling will be permitted before or after.

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The majority of COVID-19 cases are now being diagnosed in the regions and smaller cities, rather than in Sydney where the Delta outbreak first took hold.

Of the 294 cases reported on Monday, 166 – or 56 per cent – were outside the state capital.

The caseload is highest in the Hunter New England local health district, which had the most cases of any district in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday – 59. It recorded 53 cases the day before, down from 78 the previous day.

Case numbers in southwest and western Sydney once dwarfed any other area, but Hunter New England has on three occasions in the last week been the district with the highest caseload.

There is also a notable surge in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, which takes in the Snowy Mountains and the Riverina region in the state’s southwest.

Students use a hand sanitiser station as they arrive at school.

Source: AAP

That area reported 46 new cases on Monday, 47 on Sunday and 37 on Saturday.

Concerns vaccination rates were lower in the regions drove the NSW government’s decision to postpone unrestricted travel from Sydney until 1 November.

Regional communities wanted more time to get their double-dose vaccination rates as high as possible before welcoming back visitors.

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