COVID cases to peak in next fortnight: NSW

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NSW has reported another record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with a warning things are set to get worse.

The state reported 1431 new locally acquired infections and 12 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, and the NSW premier says she expects cases will peak in the next fortnight.

"It is not the number of cases we need to be focusing on but how many of those cases end up in our intensive care wards and hospitals and how many people we have vaccinated," Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

The deaths include a woman in her 30s as well as a woman in her 60s, four men and three women in their 70s, a man and woman in their 80s, and a man in his 90s.

Nine of those who died were from southwest Sydney, including the woman in her 30s who died in her home.

"Many of those (who) died today are older, did have existing comorbidities and were unvaccinated or had one dose," Deputy Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale said on Friday.

The death toll for the current NSW outbreak is now 119.

There are 979 people being treated in hospital for COVID, with 160 people in ICU - 127 of which were not vaccinated.

There are almost 11,000 people with COVID-19 who are being cared for by NSW Health, most of them at home.

Among the new cases are a staff member and patient from the maternity unit of Sydney's Northern Beaches Hospital.

A cluster at Parklea prison in Sydney's northwest has reached 96 cases.

There was also a warning from the state's chief psychiatrist, Dr Murray Wright, that children are likely to also be feeling stressed due to lockdown.

Dr Wright acknowledged the stress that many NSW families are under, particularly those home schooling primary aged children.

"I think it is reasonable if there is any kind of change in behaviour in your school aged children at this time to assume that is actually a statement of distress and take the opportunity to find out what is causing that distress," Dr Wright said.

He urged families to talk about their experiences and seek help if needed.

"It is probably a good idea to have a regular conversation as a family... to discuss these things when you are less likely to be distracted by other things," he said.

Daily COVID-19 case numbers have risen significantly in western NSW, with health authorities increasing their calls for people to be tested.

In regional NSW the Western NSW Local Health District recorded 53 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, more than double the number seen the previous day.

Some 31 of those cases were in the town of Dubbo, which has now recorded 537 cases.

Seven new cases have been recorded in the predominantly indigenous town of Wilcannia in the far west.

There are also concerns about the virus being detected in sewage plants in a number of places with no known cases such as Jindabyne, Bega, Bomaderry, Cooma, Wauchope and Blayney.

More than 7.2 million jabs have been administered in NSW to date, constituting 71.5 per cent first-dose vaccination coverage for those aged 16 or over.

Ms Berejiklian said eased restrictions would come into effect immediately upon hitting the 70 and 80 per cent double-dose jab goals.

Residents of Sydney's coronavirus hotspots are now allowed to exercise as much as they like outside of curfew hours, after a one-hour limit was lifted.

However, Ms Berejiklian said no restrictions would be eased for Father's Day on Sunday.

The premier said her government would next week release its detailed plans for the health system as COVID-19 cases accumulate in the coming months, with predictions it will come under the most pressure in October.

While the NSW health system can surge to 2000 ICU beds and an equivalent number of ventilators, unions and frontline healthcare staff have expressed concerns that staffing levels are not sufficient to manage this scenario.

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