A person in their 20s is now in intensive care as NSW struggles to suppress its growing Covid outbreak.
The state recorded a record 44 cases on Friday, with nearly the same number of people now admitted to hospital. Of the new cases, 29 were in the community while infectious.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant again sought to drive home the danger posed by the Delta strain.
“I would just like to emphasise that we have currently got 43 people in hospital due to Covid,” she said.
Ten of those are currently in the ICU and four are on a ventilator.
“There are 14 people that are admitted to hospital at the moment with Covid under the age of 55, and of those, seven are under the age of 35," Dr Chant said.
"And I'm just going to read this next piece very slowly ... Of the 10 people in ICU, one is in their 20s. One is in their 30s."
With back-to-back days of record daily new case numbers, there is worse still to come, health authorities warned.
Most concerningly, the number of people deemed a "close contact" of a positive case has doubled overnight.
“At the moment we have over 14,000 close contacts. Now yesterday, it was 7000,” Dr Chant said.
“The reason is we have had a number of larger venues in terms of people being out and about.”
Among those is a new case linked to IKEA in Tempe on July 6 from 10am to 9pm. That case alone has seen 2000 people designated as a close contact and forced into isolation.
Authorities are desperately urging people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary and telling the public to check the NSW Health website for updated exposure sites.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said those who are found not to be complying with stay at home orders, including harsher restrictions announced Friday, risk police sanctions and fines.
"If you are knowingly doing the wrong thing, you are hurting those closest to you and you are hurting all of us," she said.
The premier conceded that "unless there is a dramatic reduction in the numbers" the lockdown will likely be extended further.
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