Covid NSW: Three regions put on lockdown alert, 863 new cases

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Three NSW regions are on lockdown alert after cases increased in those areas with the state announcing 863 new locally acquired Covid cases and seven more deaths.

Lockdown in Tweed and Byron Bay is set to end at midnight, while the local government areas of Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook are "put on notice".

Kempsey was due to also come out of lockdown tonight but the restrictions may be extended.

"These decisions are not made lightly," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday.

A person with the Sydney Opera House in the background. Source: AAP Image
NSW announced 863 more Covid cases on Tuesday. Source: AAP Image

"There's more work to do and the public health team will do that work this afternoon, but I'm putting the community on notice that there may be a further announcement today in regard to all three of those areas, or any one of those three areas."

Get the vaccine or risk death: Hazzard

Mr Hazzard told reporters on Tuesday 85.7 per cent of the population over 16 have now received their first Covid vaccination and 60.4 per cent have received two doses. At 70 per cent fully vaccinated the first stage of eased restrictions will be implemented next month.

Mr Hazzard issued a stark warning for those not yet vaccinated, saying people are "kidding" themselves if they think they don't need one.

"If you think you don't need to get vaccinated, it may well be you that gets the virus and dies, or ends up in a hospital ICU," he said. 

"It may be you that passes on the virus to your family or your friends, and sees the responsibility then fall upon your shoulders for the death of one of your close friends or family."

Of the seven deaths, one person was in their 40s, another in their 50s, two in their 70s, two in their 80s and one was in their 90s.

Three of them were fully vaccinated, three had received one dose and one person was unvaccinated. All had underlying health conditions.

Odds on contracting Covid in hospital 'very small'

Mr Hazzard revealed that breast screening run by BreastScreen NSW will resume soon on a case-by-case basis, after being suspended temporarily during the beginning of the Delta outbreak.

He also spoke about the virus being transmitted in hospitals, after being asked if hospitals are a "liability" due to Covid clusters.

This comes after a woman in her 90s from western Sydney acquired her infection at Nepean Hospital and a woman in her 70s acquired her infection at Campbelltown Hospital.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale told reporters the transmission at Nepean Hospital "is being actively looked into".

"In relation to Campbelltown, we are aware that there are currently 17 patients who are infected in Campbelltown Hospital and three staff and one death associated with that cluster at Campbelltown Hospital and we understand the index case or the initial positive person was transferred from Liverpool Hospital where they acquired their infection.

"So as the minister said, in the context of the pandemic, with a number of cases in the community, we know our health care facilities are vulnerable to the introduction of Covid."

The Health Minister responded saying the odds of contracting Covid at a hospital are "very small".

"Across the world, it is well understood that in a pandemic there are always going to be risks for individuals no matter where they are. 

"Hospitals, by definition, have people who come to them with Covid and so there is always going to be that risk but on the whole, if one looks at the risk factors, clearly, anybody who has any illnesses or problems that require going to hospital should still go to hospital."

He said not to delay treatment for medical emergencies due to Covid.

"At the end of the day, that should not deter others from coming to hospital because if you are having a heart attack, a stroke or some other immediately life-threatening illness, the place to be is a hospital, because, obviously, you’re not going to be doing too well if you’re by yourself. 

"The odds of getting the virus in hospital are still very, very small and we do need to keep that in mind."

NSW full roadmap to freedom revealed 

On Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian outlined the three-stage roadmap out of Covid lockdown, which included when unvaccinated people will be granted freedoms.

The first stage of reopening will come at 70 per cent of 16 years and over being fully vaccinated, expected as early as October 11.

The second stage is expected about two weeks later when the 80 per cent fully vaccinated mark is hit, projected to be around October 25.

By December 1, NSW is expected to be at 'Covid normal' for unvaccinated and vaccinated people. This includes no limit to the number of people at informal indoor and outdoor gatherings, hospitality, retail stores and gyms to reopen at one person per 2sqm, and outdoor events able to take place with more than 1,000 people with Covid safe plan. 

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