NSW braces for COVID infection spike

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NSW braces for COVID infection spike

NSW is bracing for COVID-19 cases to spike again, almost two weeks after stay-at-home orders lifted across the state.

The number of new cases diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday jumped by 89, after three days of numbers below 300.

Some 372 new local COVID cases and one death were reported.

Health authorities are expecting cases to begin rising in earnest from next week – two weeks after initial freedoms came in, and a week after the second stage of the roadmap out of lockdown allowed significantly more social interactions.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on said Wednesday's numbers were still well below expectations.

“There will be increasing numbers, there will be an increase in hospitalisations,” he said.

“And that's why I say to everyone across the state as we do open up, please follow the rules that are in place because those rules aren't there for the sake of it.”

But authorities are hoping the high vaccination rates will suppress the rapid spread of the virus – or at least keep a lid on hospitalisations.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant warned earlier this week the expected rise in cases was yet to come and said her sights were set on getting at least 95 per cent of the state vaccinated.

“There's a lot of uncertainties about what case numbers will do,” Dr Chant said.

“Next week I will be really interested in what our numbers are.”

NSW Health on Thursday night said people entering NSW from Victoria will continue to be subject to public health orders until November 1, including completing a declaration and adhering to stay-at-home rules.

From November 1 an unvaccinated person who has been in Victoria in the previous 14 days will not be able to enter NSW for a holiday or recreation.

“There are still places of high concern — close and casual contact venues — in Victoria,” NSW Health said.

As NSW prepares for the impending wave of infections, Treasurer Matt Kean on Thursday unveiled his $2.8 billion plan to repair the state's economy from “a once-in-a-lifetime economic catastrophe”.

The recovery package includes an expansion of the state's voucher incentive scheme, with $250 per household to be provided to parents of school-age children to spend on entertainment and attractions from March.

That comes on top of $50 accommodation vouchers for every adult in the state announced on Wednesday, and the two extra $25 Dine and Discover vouchers already promised.

Other big ticket items include $50 million for the performing arts sector, $300 million to fund a COVID-19 learning support program, $480 million for new housing or refuges for people fleeing domestic violence, and $130 million to bolster mental health services.

Mr Perrottet described it as “the most extensive economic recovery plan in the country” promising “there is something in this economic recovery package for everyone”.

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