NSW has recorded its first COVID-19 death of 2021 as the state’s premier predicts the number of daily infections will soon hit triple figures.
A 90-year-old southwest Sydney woman – believed to be unvaccinated – died on Saturday, hours after being diagnosed COVID-positive. She was a close contact of a locally-acquired case.
Her death is the first since the Bondi cluster emerged on June 16, and the first connected to COVID-19 in NSW since a man died in December.
NSW’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at 57, and the national toll at 911.
It comes as the state records 77 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, the highest daily total of the current outbreak.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian all but confirmed lockdown provisions in Greater Sydney and surrounds – scheduled to conclude on Friday – will be extended.
Of the 77 cases, only 32 were in isolation for all of their infectious period.
“Over 50 of the 77 (cases) are close family members, close family members of those who’ve been infected,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
“When you get COVID, unfortunately those most impacted are those closest to you, and tragically we’ve seen one older person die and I want to extend my deepest condolences to their family and loved ones.”
There are 15 COVID-19 patients in NSW in intensive care, with five on ventilators.
Federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly later on Sunday said one of the six SummitCare Baulkham Hills aged care residents who caught COVID-19 from an infected staff member was “seriously unwell” in hospital. That person was the only unvaccinated infected resident.
Ms Berejiklian said she’d be “shocked” if NSW does not report 100 local COVID-19 cases on Monday.
As a result, it will take several weeks to drive local case numbers close to zero, necessitating longer lockdowns and more government support.
“It’s pretty plain to see the numbers are not going in the right direction at this point in time and I want the community to be prepared,” the premier said.
An additional NSW government package will be announced later this week and AAP understands the federal government will also ramp up support, despite rejecting requests to reinstate JobKeeper.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told Sky News on Sunday the state government may make use of federal income support structures to administer state government-funded financial aid.
He said his government would be obliged to splash more cash on assistance, having already committed $1.4 billion on business support.
“Last year there didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel whereas now the vaccine program is rolling out across the state … this will hopefully be the last time we have to go through this,” Mr Perrottet said.
NSW Police on Saturday issued 106 infringement notices due to public health order non-compliance, including to attendees of large gatherings in Marrickville, Sydney Olympic Park and Merrylands.
NSW Health, meanwhile, has this weekend issued numerous alerts for venues exposed to COVID-19 across Greater Sydney.
They include Coles at Kareela, a KFC in Rockdale, Penrith Barbeques Galore, a Bunnings in Padstow and a popular cafe in Centennial Park.
The Broadway Shopping Centre in Ultimo is also an exposure site.
Sydneysiders are now required to wear masks in all indoor areas of construction sites and common areas of apartment blocks.
City-wide restrictions were tightened on Friday afternoon, with exercise limited to groups of two and only one person per day from each household allowed to leave the house to go shopping.
Ms Berejiklian implored those under lockdown to adhere to the rules.
“In many cases what’s occurring is unintentional, but that’s why everybody has to think about every step they take outside their home,” she said.