NSW's COVID daily average surpasses 200

About 300 defence force personnel are joining police officers to enforce health orders in Sydney.
About 300 defence force personnel are joining police officers to enforce health orders in Sydney.

NSW has recorded 207 new local COVID-19 cases and another death as vaccinations remain a focus for authorities trying to forge a path out of Sydney's lockdown.

At least 72 cases were in the community during part or all of their infectious period, with the infection status of another 46 cases unknown.

"It is really in our hands as to how we deal with the cases coming down as a community but also our rate of vaccinations," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.

"One learning we have had in the last five weeks is that the vaccinations, both vaccines, are working extremely effectively.

"We still don't know of anybody in intensive care who has received both doses of the vaccine."

One outbreak is in a Summer Hill aged care facility, where cases now number 20 - 18 residents and two staff members - and all residents on one floor are being treated or monitored in hospital.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a 'Christmas in July' event was linked to the virus' spread in the facility where 10 of the 61 residents and one in every four workers were not vaccinated.

"Sometimes it isn't a good idea to have a 'Christmas in July' right in the middle of a pandemic but I do understand that it is an effort to try and provide entertainment and support to residents," he told reporters.

Spread in workplaces is also a threat, with one workplace recording 30 infections, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

Of the 207 cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, 40 per cent were in southwestern Sydney and 25 per cent were in western Sydney.

The seven-day average now exceeds 200 per day, with 1408 cases in the past week and 3634 since mid-June.

A southwestern Sydney man aged in his 90s has become the 15th person to die in the current outbreak.

He'd received one vaccine dose and was linked to an outbreak in Liverpool Hospital's aged care ward.

Some 232 COVID-19 cases are in hospital, including 54 in intensive care - 25 of whom require ventilation.

Dr Chant said zero community transmission by the end of August remained the focus for authorities, noting the vast majority of the community was doing the right thing.

She defended keeping Shellharbour in lockdown despite no cases since October, saying the area was connected to Wollongong. There have been 13 cases recorded in Wollongong in the past fortnight.

The premier denied the emphasis on vaccinations was an admission zero transmission was a futile cause, saying the combination of new cases and vaccination rates would dictate future settings.

About 460,000 shots were administered in NSW last week, meaning 41 per cent of the state's adult population is now at least partly vaccinated.

Dr Chant said she didn't want one dose of Pfizer wasted after questions about a nurse reportedly sacked for giving unused, soon-to-expire doses to eligible family members.

Meanwhile, about 300 Australian Defence Force troops have joined NSW police patrolling streets in Sydney's west and southwest to ensure COVID-19 health orders are being observed in eight hotspot areas.

Brigadier Mick Garraway told reporters on Monday he hoped the 300-person, six-week deployment would not require an extension.

"We are not a law enforcement agency and we will do tasks that are supportive in nature. What you have with the Defence Force is a disciplined, capable organisation that is vaccinated, tested and compliant," he said.

Sydney public transport services have been restored to a regular weekday timetable to avoid overcrowding as the construction industry resumes with multiple limitations after a two-week hiatus.

Australian Associated Press