NSW has obliterated its daily Covid case record with more than 35,000 new infections reported on Wednesday.
The state's health department revealed another sharp rise in hospitalisations with 1491 patients in hospital with Covid-19, up from 1344 the day before.
There are 119 people in intensive care, up from 105 on Tuesday.
Another eight Covid-related deaths were also reported.
The state's healthcare system is facing its biggest Covid burden since the pandemic began, however far fewer people are in the ICU compared to the Delta peak in September.
The latest daily case number of 35,054 is a considerable jump from the previous record set on Tuesday at 23,131 recorded infections.
In the past 24-hour period, NSW Health conducted 108,844 tests, about 25,000 more than the previous day.
Wait times for PCR tests continue to blow out amid a nationwide shortage of rapid, at-home test kits with the federal government facing criticism for not doing more to secure supply and making them affordable or free to Australians.
The NSW chief health officer has said the situation was likely concealing the true number of cases across the state, a reality which NSW Labor leader Chris Minns says is unacceptable.
"It's important that people know whether they've got the disease or not. That's the minimum requirement of the state and federal government," he said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has succumbed to growing pressure on the issue and is reportedly taking a proposal to subsidise the cost of rapid antigen tests for people on low incomes to a meeting of the national cabinet later today.
Premier urges parents to vaccinate their children
Dominic Perrottet and the state's chief paediatrician Dr Matthew O’Meara urged parents to get their children vaccinated during a press conference on Wednesday.
"A few children can become very unwell and data from earlier strains in largely unvaccinated children in New South Wales showed that between one or two in every 100 children would need to go to the hospital, and about one 1000 would end up in intensive care, and about one in 3000 would develop a serious inflammatory condition," Mr O’Meara said.
The premier, meanwhile, promised the arrival of more rapid home testing kits and urged people not to unnecessarily seek out a PCR test.
"I appreciate very much the patience that everyone is showing in lining up and rest assured we’re doing everything we can put downward pressure on that system.
"We have a number of rapid antigen tests arriving as of next week that will significantly assist, but my clear message today is if you are not required to get a PCR test, please do not line up in those queues.
"The faster we can get those rapid antigen tests into the hands of people across the state ... we will. We want to see that, and will work with the commonwealth government."
More than a quarter of tests in Victoria positive
Victoria has recorded 17,636 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday and 11 deaths.
While the state is also struggling with delays to test results, more than one in four are coming back positive.
Victoria now has more than 51,000 active cases and 591 people in hospital with Covid, of whom 20 are on ventilators.
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