New South Wales has recorded its worst ever daily increase in Covid infections, at 319 new locally acquired cases, as the state continues to grapple with a deepening crisis.

The state also recorded five deaths, three of which are linked to an outbreak at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney’s west, which was sparked by a health worker becoming infected and transferring coronavirus to patients.

Five deaths have been linked to the hospital outbreak, and the latest deaths were a woman in her 80s, a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s. Another man in his 60s and a man in his 80s from the inner west have also died.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said none of the people that died were vaccinated, with deaths linked to the latest outbreak now standing at 27.

“None of these five deaths, people who died, were vaccinated, and we extend our sincere sympathies to their loved ones,” he said.

The virus continues to spread into the regions, with Armidale the latest LGA to be placed into lockdown, after recording two new cases on Friday.

“If I were living in the area I would not be going out of the house today,” the NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, said.

“I would be staying at home. I would not be visiting friends, and I would be making sure that I protect myself and my family.”

Hazzard said the infections may have come after a “particular young person” went into the area and transmitted the virus to a resident.

The lockdown will begin from 5pm on Saturday, and will last until midnight on Sunday 15 August, with the rules being identical to the ones applied in greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour, the Hunter and Upper Hunter.

A total of 125 of the new cases recorded in the state are linked to previous cases, while 108 are household contacts of previous cases. A total of 194 cases are still under investigation, after the state recorded 108,449 tests on Friday.

Four new cases were detected in young people in Newcastle, two of which were living on-campus at the University of Newcastle.

McAnulty also said the virus has been detected in the sewage in Dubbo, where there are currently no cases. He urged residents there to come forward for testing.

Hazzard announced that almost 50% of the state had received their first dose of the vaccine, with the number of vaccines administered rising by 5% every week.

“The great news today is our doses for the first dose on population of 16 and above have reached almost 50%, so that is a very positive step forward,” he said.

“For those who are fully vaccinated, we are at almost 22%, and we are going up at about 5% per week.”

He also announced a “big day out for food providers of Sydney” on Sunday, where essential workers that deal with food will be invited to receive a vaccine at the hub in Sydney Olympic Park.

McAnulty stressed that authorities were still seeing rising numbers in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA, which was now the “No 1” area for new cases.

“It’s our most prominent LGA,” he said. “So people in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA, please take extreme caution.”

Hazzard said that compliance in the area had continued to be a problem, highlighting small businesses as an area that needed improvement, but stopped short of outlining any further restrictions for the region.

“Canterbury-Bankstown is a major area for workplaces, smaller workplaces and bigger ones,” he said.

“What we are seeing a larger workplaces, particularly with distribution centres, the larger ones … and they are doing a fantastic job. Some of the smaller businesses not so good.”

Hazzard also responded to comments from the country’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, who on Friday said the state needed a “circuit breaker” to refocus its efforts.

“He hasn’t told us what that circuit breaker would be,” Hazzard said. “I think what it does is just expresses the concerns that we all have, that the circuit breaker in NSW and in Sydney is for people to comply with the rules.”

Post source: Guardian

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