NSW continued to record a high number of COVID-19 cases outside of Sydney.
As of Thursday, 83 new cases were reported in the local health district of Hunter-New England, including 26 in Lake Macquarie, 14 in Maitland and 13 in Newcastle.
Sixty cases have been reported in Illawarra Shoalhaven district, the majority – 45 cases – in Wollongong.
New South Wales Deputy Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale said that across the NSW region, health officials were most concerned about the spread of the virus in West Tamworth and Berkeley, Illawarra.
Fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in Lightning Ridge, Ballina, Uralla, Bodalla, Bega and Merimbula, where health officials are currently not aware of any cases.
In Sydney, the higher number of cases in Belmore and Maroubra, as well as the ongoing transmission in Auburn, Punchbowl, Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Fairfield, are cause for concern.
911 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital on Thursday, with 181 people in intensive care, 85 of whom required ventilation.
As the state now achieves 70% double-dose vaccination coverage of its population aged 16 and over, Dr Gale challenged those who had not yet been fully immunized to raise that figure to 90 %.
â€œThis is our challenge for all of us,â€ she said.
â€œWe know that vaccines are very effective. I encourage anyone who has not yet received their first dose or has not booked their second dose to do so as soon as possible.