NSW has recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic while hospitalisations and Covid-19 case numbers remain steady.
The state reported 49 deaths on Saturday – beating the record 46 reported last week.
Some 13,354 more Covid-19 cases were recorded – a slight increase on the 13,333 reported on Friday.
Victoria recorded 12,250 new infections – down from the previous 12,755 – and 31 deaths – down from 39.
Hospitalisations have dropped slightly in both states with NSW recording 2,693 patients – down from 2,737 – and Victoria reporting 953 patients – down from 988.
More than eight million rapid antigen tests have been distributed to over 3,000 NSW schools ahead of the return of term one of the year.
Education secretary Georgina Harrisson says the test distribution has been ‘one of the most challenging logistical undertakings in recent memory’.
Parents should already have been informed about how they can pick up RATs before the first day of term for public school students begins on Tuesday.
Those attending private schools returned to school on Thursday.
The government released its back-to-school plan on Sunday, with advice that all students take a rapid test before the first day of term one.
Education secretary Georgina Harrisson says the test distribution has been ‘one of the most challenging logistical undertakings in recent memory’
As criticism grew over the distribution of tests around the state, Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Thursday there was ‘never a requirement’ for students to be rapid tested on day one of term.
Department staff have been volunteering their time, some of them delivering test kits to schools using their own cars, while one school used a ferry to get kits to families.
The back-to-school plan says testing will continue twice a week for the first four weeks of the term.
The premier said on Friday as school returned and people went back to the office there was ‘no doubt’ case numbers would increase.
He added our ‘health care system, hospitalisations and ICU’ were in a ‘strong position’ to handle a possible rise in cases.
‘Living alongside the virus means there will be cases of the virus in the community each and every day.
‘When mobility increases, case numbers increase. That is the model we’ve moved to in NSW, Australia and around the world.’
Some 2737 were hospitalised with COVID-19 on Friday, easing only slightly from the highest-ever number of 2943, reported in the state on Wednesday.
NSW recorded 70 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, including 35 fatalities from aged care facilities who lagged on reporting to local health authorities in the past month.