'Too early to know': Caution as NSW cases drop, more deaths

·News Reporter
·3-min read
  • NSW records 1,127 new cases, more deaths

  • Concerns for regions as thousands placed in lockdown

  • Calls for vaccination increase in one Sydney LGA

NSW's Covid case numbers have dropped again with 1,127 new cases reported on Tuesday.

The health department's Dr Jeremy McAnulty told reporters "sadly" two more people died from the highly contagious virus.

Dr McAnulty said they included a woman in her 80s from Sydney's west and a man in his 50s also from Sydney's west. The woman had underlying health conditions, the man did not. Both had received one dosage of vaccine.

"We extend our sincere sympathies for the loved ones and friends of these two people, who have sadly died," he said.

A woman walks alongside Redfern station in Sydney, Australia.
Covid numbers remain high in Sydney but appear to be increasing at a slower rate. Source: Getty Images

While cases might be down from the weekend, experts have warned the case numbers are yet to peak. Tuesday's total is the state's lowest since September 1.

Dr McAnulty said that cases haven't been increasing as fast as they have been, but that may be an effect of the weekend.

"It's too early to know if we're flattening the curve," he said.

"We'll look to see what's happening throughout the rest of this week to know how we're going."

He said it's also too early to know whether the reproductive rate of the virus has dropped. Dr McAnulty said it's currently "a little bit over one" meaning for every person who has the virus, they transmit it to more than one other person.

There are concerns about cases in Sydney's inner city suburbs with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagging Redfern and Glebe on Monday as areas people need to be vigilant with compliance.

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Concerns for regional NSW

Dr McAnulty said Western NSW cases have risen by 14 with 992 active cases now in the region.

Far West NSW, which includes Broken Hill and Wilcannia, now has 167 cases of Covid-19. It is an increase of five cases in the past 24 hours.

Illawarra has 17 new cases with a total 412.

He also flagged Yass Valley Council, which was placed into lockdown on Monday following the identification of a new case.

"Everyone in these areas must stay at home unless it's for an essential reason," Dr McAnulty said.

Pharmacist Christine Kelly administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Megan English at Taronga Zoo.
A woman receives an AstraZeneca vaccine at Taronga Zoo. Source: Getty Images

Calls for vaccination increase in one Sydney LGA

NSW Health deputy secretary Susan Pearce said the focus has to be on local government areas where vaccination rates are lower.

"The LGA of Parramatta is an area of focus for us with regard to their current vaccination rate," Ms Pearce said. 

"Most of the other LGAs have come up very significantly and you must remember only a few short weeks ago we were talking about rates, first-dose rates of, in some cases, less than 20 per cent. 

"We're now seeing those LGAs with rates above 70 per cent and 80 per cent in terms of first dose. 

"That's remarkable."

Parramatta has 43.8 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, according to NSW Health data. Neighbouring Cumberland and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs each have less than 40 per cent fully vaccinated.

Pleasingly though, all of these areas have more than three quarters of their residents with one dose of vaccine.

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