The latest figures showed NSW reached 69.12 per cent double-dose vaccination of people aged 16 and over by the end of Tuesday, with the state likely to administer the dose which tips it over to 70 per cent on Wednesday afternoon.
Cases in Hunter region hit daily high
Coronavirus cases in the NSW Hunter region have hit a daily high, as the centre of the virus’s spread shifts away from Sydney’s west.
There were 93 new cases reported in the Hunter-New England Local Health District, comparable to the 95 recorded in Western Sydney’s district. (Although, 144 cases were recorded in the South Western Sydney district.)
Twenty-seven of those cases were in Newcastle local government area and 26 were in Lake Macquarie, across a range of suburbs.
Fifty-one new cases were reported in the Illawarra and 30 were detected on the Central Coast.
Dr Gale said some of the areas in which health authorities are most concerned by the spread of COVID-19 were regional areas, notably Jindabyne in the state’s south, Figtree in the Illawarra, Merewether in the Newcastle areas, Cessnock in the Hunter and Blue Haven on the Central Coast.
In Western Sydney, residents in Mount Druitt, Guildford, Belmore and Croydon Park have asked to be particularly alert to symptoms and come forward for vaccination.
After climbing rapidly last week, coronavirus vaccination rates in NSW have felt the impact of the state’s public holiday weekend.
By 11.59pm on Monday, 88.6 per cent of people aged 16 and over had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.
At the same time on Sunday, those figures were 88.5 per cent and 67.5 per cent.
Dr Gale thanked people for continuing to come forward for vaccination, as the state closes in on 10.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine administered.
Premier meets health experts
The state’s new premier, Dominic Perrottet, met with health experts for the first time on Wednesday.
Before the meeting, Mr Perrottet told Ben Fordham on 2GB he had a “very constructive discussion” with Health Minister Brad Hazzard after his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.
The newly elected Liberal leader said there were a number of issues he wanted to raise, including people visiting sick and dying loved ones.
While palliative care and end of life visits are allowed under the restrictions governing aged care facilities, in hospitals these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Last month, a NSW Health spokesperson said these visits were accommodated in hospitals “wherever possible” but the decision was made locally at individual facilities.
“NSW hospitals will return to normal visiting arrangements as soon as it’s safe to do so,” the spokesperson said.
Asked about compulsory mask-wearing in offices, scheduled to remain in place until December 1, Mr Perrottet said there was no doubt the requirement was an “impediment” on people returning to the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs, but he did not want to pre-empt any decisions ahead of the state’s crisis cabinet meeting later on Wednesday.
“There’s a number of issues that I want to raise with our health officials this morning; whatever we do, we want to make sure it’s done in a way that keeps people safe,” Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Perrottet said he expects the state to bounce back quickly, given built-up demand heading into December and summer, and a “strong economy out the other side”, with an economic recovery plan to be announced in the next couple of weeks.