Record spike in NSW COVID-19 outbreak

The number of active cases in NSW continues to climb with 262 new cases announced today – the highest number of daily infections since the outbreak began.

Five people have also died after testing positive to coronavirus in the state in the past 24 hours.

Four of those five had not been vaccinated, while a fifth person had just one dose of AstraZeneca.

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READ MORE: Schools remain closed as Hunter region enters lockdown

Gladys Berejiklian media conference August 5

Three people in their 60s died, one in their 70s and one in their 80s.

At least 45 of today's cases were infectious while in the community, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

It comes after more than 107,000 tests were conducted.

The one vaccinated person who died of coronavirus in NSW overnight had their first AstraZeneca shot in May, but never got their second jab.

"If you have had your vaccine, first dose of AstraZeneca, within the last four weeks, now is the time to get your second dose," NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

"Do not delay for the three months."

Dr Chant called on everyone in NSW to act now to get a vaccine.

READ MORE: 'Stop being selfish': NSW residents told to 'get real' and get jabbed

Despite the rise in case number, Ms Berejiklian rejected calls for stricter restrictions saying the best way forward is to "focus on compliance".

"I want to stress this – that we have the harshest lockdown conditions that any state in Australia has seen.

"The difference is the Delta variant."

Newcastle and Hunter lockdown announced

Newcastle and the Hunter region will go into a one-week lockdown after an unexplained coronavirus case in the area

The lockdown will go into effect at 5pm today.

That includes the LGAs of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.

"Similar to what occurred in Orange and hopefully, similar to what occurred in Orange, we'll see that community have their restrictions or stay at home lifted at that time," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I want to confirm the arrangements in the eight local government areas will be exactly the same as exists in Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast."

The announcement comes after several schools closed due to students testing positive.

READ MORE: Victoria records five new cases of COVID-19, schools close

People from Greater Sydney breaching lockdown may be responsible for an outbreak at a gathering at Blacksmith Beach in Newcastle on Friday night.

"We believe there may have been people there from Greater Sydney and that's how it was introduced," Dr Chant said.

Dr Chant said the known cases in Newcastle did not explain the high levels of coronavirus detected in sewage in the Hunter region.

"Our cases does not fully explain the detections and so we don't want anyone to be complacent that we have got the full picture at this stage," she said.

"Those testing levels need to be high."

The high volume of movement between the Upper Hunter and Newcastle motivated the wider lockdown restrictions for the entire region.

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The NSW government is considering bringing back Dine and Discover vouchers to support local businesses once lockdown lifts.

Ms Berejiklian also said the potential of allowing businesses to operate if people are vaccinated would be up to health advice.

"If their preference is two doses, it would be two doses," she said.

"My message is don't waste time now. Don't wait, get vaccinated."

NSW to receive addition Pfizer doses

NSW will receive an additional 180,000 doses of Pfizer from next week.

"It means that in the week of 16 August, we can redirect those doses we had taken from the regions for the HSC students and it also means we can put the balance into those eight local government areas in Greater Sydney of concern in particular," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I'm relieved about that.

Ms Berejiklian urged anyone to come forward to get any vaccine they can.

"Even one vaccine reduces hospitalisation and death by Pfizer and AstraZeneca by 70 percent," Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

People wait in line at the mass vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park.

"And two doses achieves about a 90 percent effectiveness against hospitalisation and death."

Ms Berejiklian urged people not to give up on getting the vaccine if they face delays in finding a booking.

"Make sure you're contacting your GP, especially in those eight local government areas, contacting your GP, your pharmacist, if there's a local pharmacist you trust, chances are they're providing the vaccine.

"If you get frustrated the first time around, there's multiple ways in which you can access that."

She also said the government was considering relaxing certain restrictions on August 29 for people who have been fully vaccinated.

"We're definitely trying to consider options that are more positive, to say classes or employees can go back if they've had the vaccination," Ms Berejiklian said.

"One thing is very clear, until we get to at least, you know, 80 percent of our vaccination rates, we'll have some level of restriction."

Calls to delay Year 12 return to school denied

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has knocked back the teachers' union's calls to delay Year 12 returning to in-person learning.

"I don't think anybody in this state would disagree that our priority should be having Year 12 complete their HSC in as safe and as timely a way as possible," she said.

"We're keen to make sure everybody sits the public exams that are required."

She said it was especially important to get Year 12 students in the eight high-risk LGAs vaccinated.

"When you're not an adult, when you're under 18, Pfizer is the only option," she said.

"I don't think anybody would he begrudge us for focusing on getting kids back to school, starting with Year 12."

Virus traces found in Dubbo and Armidale

Traces of coronavirus have been found in sewage in Armidale and Dubbo.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the high levels of COVID-19 leads her to believe there are active cases in Armidale.

"So I call on people in Armidale to come out and get tested," Dr Chant said.

"It is no time for complacency."

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