An infant and a young child are among 72 people in New South Wales on ventilators in intensive care units, as the premier warns case numbers in Australiaâ€™s most populous state still have a fortnight to rise.
Gladys Berejikilian reiterated that in October the number of people hospitalised and requiring intensive care will peak before receding as vaccination rates slow the rate of critical illness.
â€œThis is the most critical time in dealing with the disease for us,â€ she told reporters on Sunday.
â€œAll the modelling indicates to us that the peak is likely to be here in the next week or two and the peak in hospitalisation and intensive care is likely to be with us in October.â€
NSW recorded 1,485 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, and three deaths.
There were 1,030 Covid patients in NSW hospitals: 175 of those were in intensive care and 72 required ventilators to breathe.
The NSW deputy chief health officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, confirmed three children were in intensive care in Sydney, two of whom were on ventilators, including a baby.
â€œThis is in the context of over 2,000 â€¦ children being cared for by the childrenâ€™s hospital network. So unfortunately, but rarely, people including children do require intensive care,â€ he said.
â€œOverall, children do very well with Covid-19, but there is always a spectrum of disease of any age group.â€
Authorities continued to battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain throughout the state on Sunday. Of the new cases, 21 were in western NSW, four in the far west, 12 in the Hunter-New England region, 11 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area and seven on the Central Coast.
NSW Healthâ€™s ongoing sewage surveillance program recently detected fragments of the virus at sewage treatment plants across the state. Fragments were found in Byron Bay overnight and recently at Tamworth and Glen Innes in Hunter-New England, Cooma in southern NSW and west Kempsey on the mid-north coast.
Meanwhile, an isolation hub, including 30 caravans, arrived in one of NSWâ€™s hardest hit regional towns. The temporary accommodation will be made available for isolating patients at Wilcanniaâ€™s Victory Park Caravan Park, in the stateâ€™s far west.
More than 13% of Wilcanniaâ€™s predominantly Indigenous population have caught the virus. The caravans should be ready early this week, NSW Health said on Sunday.
â€œThe site includes 30 motorhomes that will provide temporary accommodation options for people, helping to protect their loved ones and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus,â€ a statement read.
An emergency management centre has been established at the townâ€™s showground, housing personnel and staging response activities.
â€œIt will include personnel from NSW Health, NSW Police, Australian Defence Force, Aboriginal Affairs, Rural Fire Service, SES, NSW Ambulance … and a number of volunteer organisations.â€
More than 600 food hampers have been delivered to Wilcannia residents and the distribution program continues.
Covid patients isolating in the self-contained caravan accommodation will be provided with all meals and have 24-hour assistance on hand.
Berejiklian said while case numbers will continue to rise, the rate of severe illness will fall as more and more people across the state are able to access vaccines, and the government will be able to consider easing restrictions.
â€œWhen we get through the next few weeks, all of us will feel more assured about how we will cope in October. What I have my eye on is the 70% double dose vaccination [rate], which will ensure all those freedoms that those of us who are vaccinated will enjoy.â€
The premier said she was confident the stateâ€™s health system could cope with the expected surge in hospitalisations.
She also said 40% of NSWâ€™s population was now fully vaccinated.
â€œThat is an incredible milestone to have reached given where we were a few months ago,â€ the premier said.
Meanwhile Victoria recorded 183 new cases on Sunday, 91% of which were in people under 50.
The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the Covid outbreak across that state was a â€œpandemic of the unvaccinatedâ€.
The highly transmissible Delta strain is hitting younger cohorts who have not had the same opportunity to get vaccinated as older groups.
â€œThe age breakdown confirms that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,â€ Andrews said.
Victoria had 89 cases in hospital and 24 in intensive care, with 13 people on ventilators.
â€œOnly one person who is in hospital has been fully vaccinated, again, making the point that if you are double-dose protected â€¦ then you are almost certain to avoid very serious illness,â€ Andrews said.
Victoria has 1,714 active cases: 216 cases are aged 0-9; 232 are aged 10-19; 348 are aged in their 20s; and 245 are aged in their 30s.
A guard at a Melbourne detention centre has tested positive for Covid, but authorities said he hasnâ€™t infected any asylum seekers being held there.
Victoriaâ€™s Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said the security guard worked on the outside facing parts of the Melbourne Immigration Transit Centre (Mita) and did not have contact with staff inside the facility.
He said none of the asylum seekers being detained there have tested positive for the virus.
The ABF said a contractor at Mita tested positive, but he last worked there more than 12 days ago and did not come into contact with any detainees.
â€œThe ABF and the contracted service provider have worked with Public Health to minimise transmission risk in accordance with infection control and public health procedures,â€ a spokesperson said.
The ACT recorded 15 new local cases on Sunday. Of those, 13 were linked to existing cases, while six were in isolation for their entire infectious period and seven for part of it.
The ACT chief minister Andrew Barr indicated that restrictions werenâ€™t set to ease this week. More than 85% of the ACTâ€™s Covid-19 cases were under the age of 45.
A majority of those who have recently tested positive have waited at least two days after experiencing symptoms to get a test.
Barr said more than 70% of the eligible ACT population had received at least one vaccine dose.
Queensland recorded one new locally acquired Covid case, the mother of a four-year-old girl who tested positive on Friday. The mother was in isolation.