NSW Covid update: cases drop to three-week low of 935, but deaths yet to peak

New South Wales has reported 935 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest daily caseload recorded in more than three weeks, with premier Gladys Berejiklian warning that, despite the falling infection numbers, hospitalisations and deaths are yet to peak.

Four more people have died of Covid in the state, including two unvaccinated men, one in their 80s and one in their 60s. The other two deaths, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 60s, had received one dose of Covid vaccine.

Before Monday, the last day where fewer than 1000 daily cases were reported in NSW was in the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm on 26 August, when 882 cases were recorded.

Berejiklian sought to stress that “we can’t read too much into” the fact that case numbers appeared to have stabilised in recent weeks, because a predicted surge in hospital pressure was still likely to eventuate in October.

“I should note that even if case numbers go down, we should expect unfortunately that the number of people in intensive care and the number of people who lose their lives to go up because, as we’ve said consistently, because we have had a number of cases in the last few weeks, people ordinarily get very sick in the second week of the illness and sometimes stay very sick for a long time,’’ she said.

Related: Australian health experts worried as rural Covid vaccination rates lag metro areas

“That is why we need to continue to brace ourselves for October being the worst month for the number of people who pass away and the number of people who need intensive care. We should never lose sight of that … that is the likely scenario in October.’’

On Monday, there were 1207 people being treated for Covid in hospitals in NSW, with 236 in intensive care and 123 of those on ventilators. Thousands more Covid patients are receiving hospital-grade care in their homes, to avoid exposure.

Last Monday, there were 1189 Covid patients in hospitals, with 222 people in intensive care and 94 on ventilators. Hospitalisations have only slightly increased over the past week, however, the turnover of patients is not made clear by NSW Health.

Single-dose vaccinations in NSW reached 82.2% on Monday, while 52.7% of the state is now fully vaccinated.

About 20% of 12- to 15-year-olds, who only became widely eligible for vaccines less than two weeks ago, have now had their first dose. This age cohort does not count towards the 70% double-dose vaccination roadmap tied to freedoms for fully vaccinated residents.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant announced that the regional area of Cowra will re-enter lockdown from 5pm on Monday, after a positive case – a nine-year-old boy – attended a school and other venues that are now exposure sites. The source of his infection is under investigation.

Speaking about the fall in daily cases across the state, Chant cautioned residents against becoming complacent – specifically mentioning Greenacre, Guildford, Bankstown, Merrylands, Casula, Fairfield, Wollongong, the Central Coast, and Waterloo and Redfern in inner Sydney, to be vigilant for Covid symptoms.

“Whilst we are seeing some pleasing declines in some of the suburbs and clearly the numbers today reflect that, it is too soon for complacency,” she said.

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