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NSW records 210 local cases of COVID-19, with two-thirds under the age of 40

NSW recorded 210 new cases, with two-thirds of the infections involving those under the age of 40.

The number of people who were infectious for the whole – or part of – the incubation period is 32.

New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged younger people to remain aware of the risk of hospitalisation. Six people in ICU are in their twenties.

“So my message to younger people is, please, understand this is a virus that you can be susceptible to,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“You can end up being one of our positive cases and also end up in hospital and also and up transferring the virus due sadly, some of the relatives and those relatives may well and up, as you may, in hospital and may pass away.”

Mr Hazzard said the rates of hospitalisations including younger people shows the Delta variant is “an extremely serious disease”.

“It is the younger people who are actually taking up places in our intensive care units in our hospitals,” he said.

“In intensive care at the moment, I think a lot of young people would be surprised to know that there are six people in their 20s in intensive care. There are four people in their 30s and there is one person in their 40s. At the moment we have 11 people in intensive care who are all 40 years old or under. That is extremely concerning.”

Vaccine rates improve
Minister Hazzard said there is a renewed enthusiasm for both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine.

“What we have said is a real uptick in willingness to have the vaccine, either one, and I think particularly the opening up of the pharmacies has seen a rapid uptake in the regions and in the city.”

He said a request has been made for approval for all 250 NSW pharmacies to provide AstraZeneca.

Mr Hazzard said he is disappointed that some health workers attended Saturday’s anti-lockdown protest.

“I understand there was one paramedic and either assistant in nursing, and one other. Investigations are continuing.

He urged those who attended the protest to get a COVID-19 test so that contact tracers can identify any virus transmission.

“I do think there is a whole set of circumstances where people – not just at that protest – but in other circumstances, don’t necessarily tell the whole truth.

I would say to them, please tell the whole truth. Because from the health point of view, we need to know who you have been with, where you have been so we can try and track and trace the virus.”

Police prepare for ‘large operation’
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Willing said fines of up to $1,000 and criminal sanctions will apply to those who attend anti-lockdown protests this weekend.

“We don’t apologise for today’s operation. We have made a very, very clear that people should not go into the city and engage in activity like we saw last week. In terms of the scale, it is a large operation.

“We will have over 1000 police officers on the street. There are resources in the city, but those resources are mobile. They can be deployed anywhere across greater Sydney and to the outskirts of Sydney as well as they are required.”

Eighty-five people have been charged and 300 fines issued over last Saturday’s anti-lockdown protest in the Sydney CBD.

Last night, a 49-year-old man from the Central Coast was charged with criminal offences for online incitement of Saturday’s protest.

Sydney recorded 170 cases on Friday, down on the previous day’s pandemic-high of 239 and taking the seven-day total to 1207.

Meanwhile, the city’s public hospitals have begun postponing non-urgent elective surgeries to cope with the growing outbreak.

NSW Health said stopping some elective surgeries from Monday would increase capacity for other health services in Greater Sydney.

The change will not affect theatres in Illawarra or Central Coast hospitals.

A new, walk-in AstraZeneca vaccination clinic at Bankstown Sports Club opens for its first full day on Saturday.

Operating 8am to 5pm, it’s one of 13 walk-in clinics across the west and southwest. Up to four will be open each day.