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‘But the key message is those boosters will improve the protection,’ she said. ‘Only one of the 17 people that died had been boosted.’
But as the death toll mounts, premier Dominic Perrottet has warned lockdown is ‘the only alternative’.
About 6000 health workers were isolating after being exposed to the virus in NSW, as Dr Kerry Chant warned Covid deaths were about to rise
Premier Dominic Perrottet says the NSW health system is tracking better than the best case scenario
The state reported another 17 deaths on Monday, taking the number over the previous five days past 100.
Another 29,504 new infections were also recorded, as hospitals across the state face unprecedented stress.
A record 2776 virus patients are in hospital – 203 in intensive care and 61 of them ventilated.
But the premier on Monday said there was nothing more he could do to stop the spread of the virus, shy of a lockdown.
‘The best way out of this pandemic is to continue to stand strong and to push through,’ he told reporters.
‘It’s not the easy approach but it’s the right approach.
‘The only alternative is to go into lockdown.’
Minutes earlier a senior Sydney doctor warned health care workers are exhausted as thousands of patients are admitted each day.
‘Our capacity to manage everything else has … really changed,’ said lung specialist Lucy Morgan, who works at Nepean and Concord Hospitals, on Monday.
‘In the short term, that’s OK. But in the long term, and (the pandemic has lasted) two years now, this is bad.’
With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly through the community, health workers are being exposed and left unable to come to work to help out with the growing caseload.
About 6000 health workers were isolating after being exposed to the virus on Sunday, Dr Morgan said.
She urged NSW residents to get a booster shot to protect themselves against Omicron and alleviate the burden on the health system.
In contrast to Dr Morgan’s warnings, Mr Perrottet said the health system was tracking well – ‘better than the best case scenario’ in modelling published earlier this month.
Under the best case scenario modelling, only 3158 people will be hospitalised and the number in ICU will peak at 270.
While hospitalisations would be about two-and-a-half times what they were at the Delta outbreak peak, ICU admissions would only be up about 11 per cent.
Meanwhile, the first 1.2 million rapid, at-home tests ordered by the NSW government have arrived, with another 15 million expected within a week.
The government’s order of 50 million will be distributed to schools, social housing, vulnerable and remote communities.