The number of people requiring hospitalisation in New South Wales will soon get worse, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has predicted.
"We anticipate that the worst month, the worst time for our intensive care unit, will be in October," Ms Berejiklian said.
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"We also know from the information we have, the accumulation of cases and the number unvaccinated, that October is likely to be our worst month in terms of pressure on the system and that is why we have been gearing up for that and we have been nearly two years.
"And the number of cases we have in intensive care will depend on our vaccination rate.
"Our hospital system is under pressure. Will we need to do things differently? Of course, we will."
Ms Berejiklian said a roadmap was being worked on to determine what restrictions will be lifted for those who have received double doses of the vaccine, or when the state reaches 70 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
"We also have to appreciate next few weeks are critical, they will give us good guidance as to what level of freedom we will have but my strongest message is, if you are not vaccinated, do not expect to have freedoms," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We want to lift the burden of our citizens, not increase it. High vaccination rates give us that.
"If we know a lot of you have had your first and second dose, that gives us greater flexibility in increasing your freedoms."
When asked about NSW's staggered return-to-school plan and the possibility of outdoor dining, Ms Berejiklian said the rate of people going into intensive care goes down every time the vaccination rates go up.
"The hospitalisation rate does not necessarily relate to transmission. What that is a demonstration of (is) the accumulation of cases over time," she said.
"Once you get to October (and) once we get to 70 per cent double-dose, the chance of our citizens ending up in hospital or ending up in intensive care greatly reduces, so we have to be aware of those facts.
"We will find a safe spot where we can live freely and have as few of us end up intensive care as possible.
"The double-dose vaccination is the best chance we have been keeping ourselves and our loved ones and our health workers safe by staying out of hospital."
Ms Berejiklian said last week the goal will be for every school staff member to receive COVID-19 vaccination by November 8, with a special day for staff to be vaccinated on September 6.
HSC exams will be pushed back to November 9, with a revised timetable and guidelines for COVID-safe exams to be released by the NSW Education Standards Authority in early September.