Deadliest day of pandemic for New South Wales

New Zealand is fast approaching 1200 confirmed cases. Photo: Getty Images
Image: Getty
New South Wales has reported a record 15 deaths from Covid-19 and announced fully vaccinated people will be able to visit loved ones in aged care homes within weeks, ending months of separation.

Some 863 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed across the state in the 24-hours until 8pm on Tuesday.

The deaths comprised two people in their 40s, two in their 50s, four in their 60s, three in their 70s, one in their 80s and three in their 90s.

One woman in her 70s from Bateman's Bay was fully vaccinated and had received the second dose shortly before her death.

She is the first death in the state's southeast since the pandemic began.

The number of deaths is the state's highest daily total of the pandemic.

More than 86 percent of NSW residents have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 61.7 percent fully vaccinated.

With vaccination rates due to reach 70 percent double dose coverage within weeks, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced visits to aged care homes would be allowed from October 11.

"For those of you who haven't been able to see a loved one for around three months, (from) Monday the 11th, so long as you are fully vaccinated, two at a time and two per day are able to visit a loved one in an aged care facility," she said on Wednesday.

"I am looking forward to seeing my parents in that week."

Meanwhile, the Byron Shire could be sent back into lockdown only hours after it was released, after two people who were infectious in the community were identified.

The Tweed, Byron and Kempsey areas were freed from lockdown overnight, while stay-at-home orders were reintroduced in Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook for at least one week.

But the freedom of residents in the Byron Shire is likely to be short-lived, with one case diagnosed in the Kyogle area and a second case in Byron Bay, local MP Tamara Smith confirmed.

"Initial investigations indicate that both people had been infectious in the community, with contact tracing and investigations currently underway," she said on Wednesday.

The Tweed and Byron areas were re-included in the Queensland border bubble when restrictions lifted overnight, but the cases will likely see the Byron area excluded again.

It comes as the deadline for health workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 with at least one dose looms.

Some 94 percent of the NSW Health workforce is vaccinated, but staff have until Thursday, at which point they will be unable to work.

Unvaccinated people in the broader NSW community are also being warned they'll likely be missing out on certain freedoms and activities beyond December.

NSW will emerge from lockdown in a fortnight after almost four months of stay-at-home orders for large parts of the state.


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