NSW contact tracers are interviewing positive cases more quickly, as COVID-19 case numbers continue their slow but steady decline.
The number of people to be fully interviewed by contact tracers within a day of their positive result nearly doubled last week, data published by NSW Health reveals.
Contact tracers fully interviewed 58 per cent of new cases within one day of notification in the week ending September 20.
The week before, tracers only reached 31 per cent of people within that time frame. It is the first time that metric has surpassed 50 per cent since the end of August.
The improvement in contact tracing comes as the number of new local cases continues to dip.
There were 8226 cases in the week ending September 20, 1326 fewer than the week before.
The number of people infected on average by each positive case in that week – known as the average growth factor – dipped to 0.98, falling below one for the first time since the current outbreak began in mid-June.
Every daily tally of case numbers reported this week has been lower than last week's lowest number, 1083.
There were 1007 new cases reported on Saturday.
But while cases are gradually falling, the number of deaths remains fairly consistent.
Eleven more were announced on Saturday, the same number as the previous day.
Of the 22 deaths announced on Friday and Saturday, five died at home and only tested positive to the virus after passing away.
Those deaths include two men in their 40s, a man in his 50s, and two women in their 80s.
NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty on Saturday urged people to get tested if they have mild symptoms, and to seek medical help “sooner rather than later”.
More than half the new cases reported on Saturday were in the coronavirus hotspots of western and southwest Sydney.
But authorities are also concerned about growing case numbers in the Illawarra, which saw 70 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
Greater Sydney has now been in lockdown for more than 13 weeks, with some fun-starved residents giving marching orders after large crowds gathered at beaches in Bondi and Manly on Friday night.
Police issued three fines for public health order breaches and a number of a move-on directions as they dispersed revellers enjoying the warm weather in Manly.
Many parts of regional NSW are also subject to stay-at-home orders, as authorities battle the outbreak of the virulent Delta strain.Internet Explorer Channel Network