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  • NSW residents rush to get booster shots

    Author: AAP

NSW residents are rushing to get their booster shots as COVID-19 infections continue their surge.

Premier Dominic Perrottet says there's no need to reimpose restrictions in the face of record case numbers.

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"It's a time for calm, but it's also an important time to go out and get your booster shot because vaccination has been key to NSW's success," the premier said on Sunday.

"High testing rates, high vaccine rates and booster shots will ensure the protection of our community during this period of time."

Almost 60,000 booster jabs have been administered by the state's health workers this week, up from 15,000 the week before.

NSW Health is aiming to administer double that number next week.

There's also been a "little uptick" in people coming forward for their first vaccinations in the past week, said NSW Health deputy secretary Susan Pearce.

The state again broke the record for the highest daily case tally in any Australian jurisdiction on Sunday, when it reported 2566 new COVID-19 cases.

Mr Perrottet said rising case numbers were "the new normal" and the key metric was instead intensive care presentations.

It's "incredibly positive" that they've so far held steady despite a huge surge in infections, he said.

There are 28 people in ICU wards around the state with the virus, two more than on Saturday.

The COVID-19 ICU population has hovered in the mid-20s since late November.

The majority of ICU patients continue to be people who are unvaccinated or who've received only one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospital numbers have increased, and now stand at 227 compared to 156 a week ago.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the more cases there are, the more likely there are to be hospital admissions, but described the increase as "very modest".

Health authorities are no longer using genomic sequencing to identify which variant patients have, but are presuming the majority of new cases are the new Omicron variant.

It's not yet known what kind of severity of illness the highly transmissible variant can cause, Ms Pearce said.

"The numbers are one thing but the severity will be the thing that makes the difference and that is at this stage unknown," she said.

Mr Hazzard said the fact it's summer in Australia means international experience will not necessarily help to predict what will happen in NSW.

While international counterparts are reimposing restrictions, and in some cases lockdowns, in response to the Omicron threat, Mr Perrottet said personal responsibility was key.

"The government can't do everything, it's over to the people of our state," he said.

NSW Health is urging residents to socialise at the beach or other outdoor settings.

The agency also wants residents to consider using rapid antigen tests - which retail at about $10 to $15 each - before they go out.

The new cases were diagnosed from more than 148,000 tests processed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.

The premier acknowledged the long queues and wait times caused by the huge demand for PCR tests.

No new deaths from the virus were reported on Sunday.

Some 93.4 per cent of people aged 16 and over in NSW are now fully vaccinated, while 78.1 per cent of those aged 12-15 are double dosed.

The state is nearing 95 per cent first-dose vaccination for 16s and over, reaching 94.9 per cent on Friday.

It's likely to notch up 100,000 cases for the entire pandemic by Monday; currently there have been 97,369 cases in NSW since COVID-19 came to the state, of which 11,703 have been recorded in the last week alone.

The Hunter New England region continued to drive case numbers, with 715 new infections diagnosed there. The vast bulk of the rest of the new infections are in Sydney.


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