NSW has reported 1485 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and another three deaths, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced.
She said 40 per cent of the eligible population had now been fully vaccinated.
The deaths were a woman in her 50s from western Sydney who died at Blacktown Hospital; a woman in her 70s from south-western Sydney who died at Campbelltown Hospital and a man in his 70s from south-western Sydney who died at Liverpool Hospital.
There have been 126 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since the outbreak began on June 16, among 182 since the start of the pandemic.
There have been 27,984 locally acquired cases reported since June 16.
There are 1030 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 175 people in intensive care, 72 of whom require ventilation.
Of the 1485 cases, 518 are from South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 479 are from Western Sydney LHD, 174 are from Sydney LHD, 116 are from South Eastern Sydney LHD, 80 are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, 32 are from Western NSW LHD, 31 are from Northern Sydney LHD, 12 are from Hunter New England LHD, 11 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD, seven are from Central Coast LHD, six are in correctional settings, four are from Far West LHD, and 15 cases are yet to be assigned to an LHD.
The premier said relaxations of restrictions at a 70pc full vaccination rate, which she expects mid-October, would occur in a staged manner. “When other nations got to their vaccination targets, they did not have rules in place and that is why case numbers surged and why some hospitals were overwhelmed and in Australia we have a different approach,” she said. “Our approach [is that] you open up in a safe way which is what NSW will do.”
For now her priority is ensuring health services can cope. “In the first instance I want to make sure that every single citizen understands the plans we have in place for the next few weeks when the hospitalisation numbers are going to increase and when ICU capacity will also need to be stretched,” Ms Berejiklian said. “We will provide that information as early as possible and our best modelling. I want to stress that when these figures come out they are only as good as that day. It will give people a good indication of what we are expecting, what we are prepared for.”