Australia has suffered its first death from Covid-19 for months as NSW sinks deeper into crisis.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed a woman aged in her 90s had died after contracting the virus “within the home setting”, urging residents to adhere to restrictions to avoid endangering their loved ones.
“Tragically, we’ve seen one older person die and I want to extend my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones,” she said.
“I can’t stress enough that every time we risk breaking the rules, or even just going about our business and not getting tested when we need to, the people whose lives and health that we’re risking the most are those closest to us.”
Authorities believe the woman was not vaccinated, but are working to confirm that detail.
NSW confirmed another 77 cases on Sunday, 50 close family members of people with the virus. Ms Berejiklian said she would be “shocked” if number of new cases did not exceed 100 on Monday.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the death “highlights the severity and the impact that Covid can have on loved ones, the nearest and dearest to you”.
“This highlights the critical point around the importance of not putting yourself or your loved ones or your family and friends at risk,” she said.
“Please stay at home, and that means staying within the one household. Do not leave that household setting and do not interact with other family members.
“I know that that can be a difficult concept, given the closeness of family units, but at this point in time … we need to keep the households as a discrete unit, so we don’t get that risk of further spread.”
Fifty-two people were in hospital with Covid-19 across NSW, 15 in intensive care and five on ventilators.
Eleven of the hospitalised patients were under the age of 35 and six were under 25.
Dr Chant said the patients in ICU “dispel the myth that (Covid-19) is only for the elderly”, with one in their teens, one in their 20s, and one in their 30s.
“This is a serious disease, Covid. We cannot afford to have complacency,” she said.
There was one ICU patient in their 40s, three in their 50s, five in their 60s, two in their 70s, and one in their 80s.
Dr Chant said she appreciated the strength of family ties in southwestern Sydney, but warned they were proving “so detrimental” to containing the virus.
She said many communities in the region conceived of family units as extended families, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and nephews.
“That’s wonderful, but in Covid times, those interactions between those family groups are so likely to spread Covid. People catching up with their relatives is just a recipe for Covid-spread in indoor environments,” she said.