The number of daily Covid-19 cases in NSW dropped significantly on Thursday as hopes grow that health authorities are finally getting to grips with Sydney's concerning outbreak.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 65 new locally acquired cases, continuing a run of days where cases are below 100 since 112 infections were announced on Monday.
"That is a welcome drop on yesterday's numbers, but it comes with a warning in that 28 of those cases were infectious in the community whilst they were obviously out and about," she said.
"So that is the critical number that we need to watch in the days ahead."
There were also an additional seven cases that were partly in the community while infectious.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the number of cases infectious in the community was "too high".
"We need to do better than that to get out of the lockdown. We need to see a decline," Ms Berejiklian added.
Dr Chant and Ms Berejiklian said they envisaged daily cases to be higher on Friday, but said cases were now entering a period of "stabilisation".
"We need to do better than that to get out of the lockdown"Premier Gladys Berejiklian
"They' re not growing exponentially. That tells us that the settings that we have in place are having an impact," Ms Berejiklian said.
"My strongest message to everybody is keep doing what you are doing."
Dr Chant said she was concerned over the number of infections occurring in GP clinics and pharmacies as people with symptoms seek medical help.
There were more than 58,000 people who came forward for testing in the previous 24-hour reporting period, with Dr Chant urging people to continue to seek testing as soon as symptoms arise.
Premier defends NSW lockdown
Dr Chant called on residents to continue to adhere to the rules and ensure they are keeping movements to a minimum.
"I really need to make sure that the community is aware that the threat of COVID is everywhere - and every time you leave your house you have to assume that the person next to you is infectious," she said.
Ms Berejiklian extended the lockdown for Sydney and surrounding areas by two weeks on Wednesday, meaning restrictions will be in effect until July 30.
On Thursday she defended her government's response to the latest outbreak, insisting current measures were proportionate to the threat at hand.
She was also pressed on the confusion surrounding what classifies as an essential worker, refuting claims Victoria had successfully provided clear guidance on work.
Ms Berejiklian refused to commit to an easing of lockdown come July 30.
"At the end of the two weeks, we hope to be in a much stronger position than what we are now," she said.
Nineteen people are in ICU while five of those are using ventilators.
One person in intensive care is in their 20s.
Case in Sydney's west 'of concern'
Dr Chant identified a case in Sydney's northwest was concerning due to no known source of that infection.
The case was detected in Emu Plains, with Dr Chant calling on residents in the area to be be on alert for symptoms.
Anyone who was in the Lennox Village shopping centre in the suburb on Saturday between 3.45pm to 5.00pm must seek testing immediately.
Anyone who visited the Woolworths at the shopping centre from 4.00pm to 4.45pm must seek testing and isolate for 14 days.
The Delta variant at the centre of Sydney's outbreak is beginning to spread nationwide.
Melbourne could be facing a fifth lockdown after 10 local cases emerged on Wednesday, and officially announced Thursday.
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