NSW recorded an alarming 633 locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Wednesday – exceeding the previous daily record by more than 150 infections.
While a rise in cases was predicted by Premier Gladys Berejiklian just 24 hours earlier, such a substantial rise has undoubtedly been a concerning revelation for health authorities.
"We haven't seen the worst of it," the premier said in a frank address to reporters.
She implored for residents to adhere to the health rules, stating data reveals each case is infecting at least one other person or more.
"That can't continue," she said.
"Some of the stories we hear everyday about the way people are suffering, the way that people are seeing loved ones dying, the impact it's having is just devastating. So just stay home."
Wednesday's total far exceeds the previous record of 478 recorded set on Monday and moves closer to the national record of 725 set by Victoria during its daunting second wave last year.
Just 94 of the cases were in isolation while infectious, with at least 92 infectious in the community. A further 447 cases remain under investigation.
Nearly 90 per cent of the cases have emerged in southwestern and western Sydney.
A further three deaths were announced, taking the outbreak's death toll to 60.
There are currently 462 people admitted to hospital with Covid, 77 of whom are in intensive care, with 25 of requiring ventilation.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant delivered a similarly stark message, stressing vaccination rates are "far too low".
"I can't express enough my level of concern at these rising numbers of cases," she said.
"We also need to do everything we can to not come in contact with anyone to minimise our movements, and to continue to get tested and isolate, if you have the most minimal of symptoms."
Dr Chant said high rates of transmission was occurring in the suburbs of Merrylands, Guildford, Auburn, Greenacre, Yagoona, St Marys and Strathfield.
Premier rejects tighter restrictions at this stage
On Tuesday, while stating September and October will be the state's toughest month yet, Ms Berejiklian suggested there could be an easing of restrictions in just a matter of weeks for those fully vaccinated and in areas of low transmission.
Despite Wednesday's record daily case total, she refused to rule out easing for those vaccinated.
Ms Berejiklian refrained from committing to tighter restrictions, suggesting even with the toughest restrictions possible, a minority doing the wrong thing would derail the response.
"Delta leaves no room for anybody doing the wrong thing," she said.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys revealed 736 penalty notices were issued in the previous 24-hour reporting period, expressing his dismay at the level of non-compliance.
"It's disappointing, there is absolutely no doubt about that. But when you look at 448 of those issued to people who were moving outside of their house without a good reason, that again shows us that people clearly want to step outside of the rules and put the safety of theirs and the community at risk."
Ms Berejiklian said it was she shared the frustration of millions of NSW residents doing the right thing.
When pressed by reporters whether she was wanting to impose tougher restrictions than Ms Berejiklian was allowing, Dr Chant said it's "not as easy as that".
She was also unclear on whether she believed there were further restrictions that could bring transmission down.
"We have ongoing discussions about what more can we do," Dr Chant said.
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