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'Get the jab' plea to Sydneysiders as virus numbers rocket to new record

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Political and health leaders in NSW have made a heartfelt plea to residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 quickly as the state recorded another grim milestone in the 10-week crisis, with 919 new locally acquired cases of the virus and two more deaths.

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The deaths included a 30-year-old mother-of-three from western Sydney – one of the youngest people in the state to succumb to the virus.

She died at home, prompting warnings to those battling the virus outside of hospital to closely monitor their symptoms and call an ambulance if they become breathless.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian acknowledged that people would be alarmed to see the case numbers – up by 166 from the previous day – but urged them to instead look at vaccination rates.

“Nearly one third of our population is fully vaccinated,” she said.

“If we keep these rates up we will hit further milestones.”

A relatively low hospitalisation rate showed how well vaccines worked, she said.

Some 645 are in hospital with the virus, including 113 in intensive care.

The premier said the health system was being impacted by the high caseload, but everyone who needed medical attention would receive it.

“There’s no doubt that parts of the hospital network are under severe pressure,” she said.

“When … 80 per cent of cases are coming out of the same region, that will put pressure on the hospital.”

Westmead Hospital in the virus hotspot of western Sydney declared a “yellow emergency” on Tuesday due to an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients.

The hospital has reduced ambulance arrivals for COVID-19 patients for 24 hours and will transfer several critical patients to other Sydney metropolitan hospitals. An urgent critical care review is underway.

Westmead is managing 1500 COVID-19 patients in the community.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said 280 virus patients came to the hospital by ambulance last week,

“I’m confident that we have maybe a system that is under pressure but a system that works,” he said.

Authorities are urging people who experience breathlessness, chest pain or dizziness to call an ambulance, after a young mother with COVID-19 died at home on Monday.

“Please do not delay care because we do not want to see consequences from delayed care,”  Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said
Dr Chant said the woman, Ianeta Baker Isaako, had been offered accommodation at a residence for COVID-19 patients before she died at home in Emerton in western Sydney.

Her husband is also sick with the virus.

The Penrith RSL Junior Rugby Union Club posted a tribute to Ms Isaako on its Facebook page.

“Our hearts are breaking and our thoughts are with your beautiful children, loving husband and wider family. May you rest in perpetual light and love.”

The other death was a man in his 80s from Sydney’s north, who died at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai

Hospital after being infected at the Greenwood Aged Care in Normanhurst.

Between 40 and 50 per cent of the facility’s staff are unvaccinated, according to official federal government data.

This brings the number of COVID-related deaths in NSW to 76 since June 16.

Case numbers are likely to continue to rise, with authorities emphasising vaccination as the way out of the Delta outbreak, with the entire state locked down.

The premier is particularly urging under-40s in the local government areas of concern in western Sydney and southwest Sydney to get vaccinated.

“Do not waste this opportunity,” Chant said to young people in hotspot areas being offered Pfizer.

Vaccination would help prevent serious illness but also help the community, she said.

“The modelling suggests if we can get this group vaccinated, we will break the transmission chain,” Chant said.

“It will take a while … but the solution is in our hands.”

About 60 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 or older have had at least one shot, with 32 per cent fully vaccinated.

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