As Sydney nears the halfway point of its two-week lockdown, the number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases in NSW are showing no signs of slowing down.
There were 31 local Covid cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday night, 13 of which were in the community. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this group of cases was "concerning".
Four of the new cases remain under investigation.
On Monday, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the number of daily infections should begin to drop off in about five days time, but that has failed to materialise yet, and in the process has diminished public hope the lockdown will end come July 9.
The latest daily total is the largest since the virus re-emerged in the community on June 16.
However Ms Berejiklian said it was a relief cases had not ballooned out of control and the state's contact tracers were now in the process of "mopping up" the transmission prior the lockdown.
'The next few days are critical," Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
She warned people to understand what the lockdown entails, calling on people to adhere to the rules of only essential outings.
"A handful of people not doing the right thing, can have very devastating consequences," she warned, calling on residents to report anyone, including businesses, breaching restrictions.
"Compliance is so important during this time.
"If you see something wrong, it is not a bad thing to report it."
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there was increasing number of cases emerging in retail settings and called on the public to consider whether their outings are needed.
"Please don't go out and about shopping in retail, in any setting if you have got a symptoms," she said.
Dr Chant called on people to reduce the time they spent grocery shopping and consider going at non-peak times.
The key statistic shaping state's response
Ms Berejiklian said the focus now was reducing the number of new infections that have spent time in the community. She said if this figure was reduced, conversations could begin about ending the current lockdown.
She said it was key exposure sites did not begin to spread across Sydney.
"What I would like to see and what Dr Chant would like to see is, come early next week, a reduction in the number of people that have been exposed or have exposed the virus to others, especially outside the south-east Sydney zone.
"We know that area has a high concentration of cases. We don't want to see Western Sydney and South Western Sydney develop further cases where people have been active in the community."
The number of cases in the outbreak has now surpassed 200, with 226 since the first case in an unvaccinated limousine driver who ferried international air crew emerged.
There were 24 new local cases announced on Thursday.
There were a record 73,602 tests in the previous 24-hour reporting period, continuing the state's strong response to a call for action from the premier in terms of testing.
The record for the daily number of vaccines administered by NSW Health was also broken, with 21,289 people jabbed in the 24-hour period.
Exposure sites linked to positive cases has now surpassed 400 locations and transport routes.
Unvaccinated nurse's infection leads to isolation of nearly 400
Eight of the cases reported on Friday are associated with a healthcare worker announced Wednesday who worked while infectious in two Sydney hospitals.
There are now 10 cases linked to her, nine of which are healthcare or aged care workers.
More than 390 staff and patients have been identified as close contacts to date, with investigations into the source of the first case’s infection and contact tracing ongoing.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.