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NSW reports 1,485 new coronavirus cases amid warning of peak within next fortnight

New South Wales has recorded 1,485 locally acquired cases and three additional deaths on Sunday.

The three confirmed deaths were a woman in her 50s from western Sydney who was partially vaccinated, and a man and a woman in their 70s who were both unvaccinated and had “significant co-morbidities”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed 40 per cent of eligible residents in the state were now fully vaccinated, while 73 per cent have had their first dose.

“When we hit 80 per cent first dose we will be confident we can get 80 per cent double dose,” she said.

“Not many places in the world have done that and I am confident we will.”

There are now 1030 people in the state’s hospitals, with 175 in intensive care and 72 on ventilators.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said two-thirds of the state’s cases were now in people aged under 40 – the demographic that was largely unable to get vaccinated before this Delta outbreak.

“The message is about coming forward for testing but also getting vaccinated. Take advantage of the multiple vaccination hubs and through your GP or pharmacy to get vaccinated,” he said.

There were 32 new cases in Western NSW and 12 new cases in the Hunter.

Cases could peak as early as the next week
The Premier said she was confident this outbreak would soon reach its peak.

“All the modelling indicates to us the peak is likely to be here in the next week or two – and the peak in hospitalisation and intensive care is likely to be with us in October,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The next few weeks will have high case numbers, but what we don’t want to see is when you make interventions at the wrong time and there is a surge in cases which sets us back.”

As vaccination uptake continues to rise, the Premier said her cabinet is continuing to work on its reopening plan.

“At 70 per cent fully vaccinated, you will be able to go to meals, events,” she said.

“It is important work we are doing, but (it is) work we look forward to representing to the public as soon as we have it ready.”

‘On the home stretch’
Ms Berejiklian said in the coming week she would be presenting modelling on the expected peak in case numbers and hospital admissions.

Anticipating the peak of this outbreak in the next fortnight, Ms Berejiklian said authorities are “well prepared” with surge capacity.

“We are well and truly prepared.”

She said the state could look forward eased restrictions by mid-October.

“Even though the intensive care capacity will be our biggest challenge in the first few weeks of October – October is the month where all of us will feel relief and that we are on the home stretch,” she said.

Home quarantine program planning underway
She said planning work is underway for a home quarantine program to allow fully vaccinated overseas travellers to return at the 80 per cent double dose vaccination target.

“Once we hit 80 per cent double dose, all internal border restrictions in Australia should not exist. And by that stage, NSW would welcome home thousands of Australians every week because when you have 80 per cent of your adult population completing vaccinated, it does allow you to do things differently.”

She said hotel quarantine had its use-by date.

“We still need some form of quarantine in the future, whether it is for international students or skilled labour. But as far as Australia is a concern, if you are fully vaccinated with a credible vaccine, you should be allowed to quarantine at home; and that is a transition we will be making.”

Vaccination blitz for police and emergency services
Meanwhile, police, fire and emergency services staff in Sydney’s coronavirus hotspots will be jabbed in big numbers on Sunday as the state targets them in a “super vaccination blitz”.

After announcing a record day for case numbers with 1,533 positive cases on Saturday, Mr Hazzard said the government wanted to make sure all frontline workers are vaccinated, describing Sunday as a “golden opportunity” for any hold-outs.

At least 73 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over have been vaccinated at least once, with more than 7.3 million jabs administered in the state.

A survey of more than 6,500 hotel staff across NSW has found the majority of employees support the premier’s calls for double vaccination and more than half will be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

The Australian Hotels Association NSW Chief Executive Officer John Whelan said it was encouraging that 63.5 per cent of employees surveyed believed it should be a requirement for all hotel employees to be fully vaccinated.

“If you want to get down to the pub when we re-open, get vaccinated now,” Mr Whelan said.

“You’ll need two jabs and you don’t want to be left out when things finally open up.”
A smaller number (6.6 per cent) of staff said they did not intend to be vaccinated while 9.5 per cent were undecided.