More than 100 staff and patients at a Sydney hospital have been sent into isolation after two student nurses tested positive to COVID-19.
NSW health authorities confirmed on Friday night that 130 staff and patients from Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital had been impacted.
The two cases are not linked, a South Western Sydney Local Health District spokesperson told 9News.
"Twenty-five staff were identified as close contacts of the first student nurse and have been isolating. There were no patients identified as contacts," the spokesperson said.
"Extensive contact tracing of the second case continues. Five patients and more than 100 staff have been identified as potential contacts and are isolating."
The spokesperson adds that "extensive cleaning of the clinical areas in which the staff members worked" has been conducted and says there has been "no impact on the hospital's services or the delivery of care".
It comes after New South Wales recorded 136 local COVID-19 cases on Friday, 53 of which were infectious in the community, as the premier says the evolving situation could be regarded a "national emergency".
Restrictions have been tightened further in several local government areas in south-west Sydney while authorities fight to control the spiralling outbreak across the city, which has claimed another life.
"There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we were hoping they would at this stage," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed an 89-year-old man had died overnight, but said further information would not be released until the family had been notified.
There were a record 86,620 tests conducted in New South Wales overnight - a number rapidly approaching capacity.
"We have to acknowledge that our testing resources are finite," Dr Chant said.
"We are starting to max out at that."
New testing technologies were being explored, she said.
New restrictions for two LGAs
Further restrictions will be imposed in the Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas.
In line with the restrictions on Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown, workers in Cumberland and Blacktown will no longer be allowed to leave those communities unless they are health and emergency workers.
Fairfield is still generating the largest number of cases, Dr Chant said.
Vaccine strategy 'must be refocused'
NSW will appeal to the Federal Government to refocus the national vaccination strategy on south-western Sydney.
"What I am recommending strongly is that our vaccination efforts are refocused on those affected LGAs," Dr Chant said.
"Every day people from those LGAs have to go out to work to keep our city going.
"They are doing critical food production, critical work, to keep society functioning, and we are seeing cases of the virus introduced into various workplaces.
"We are also seeing a significant household transmission, and it has been very challenging to interrupt those transmission chains.
"Two areas that I have requested that we urgently focus on, is redirecting all of vaccine initiatives to south-western Sydney, and Western Sydney, particularly the affected local government areas, that we work in partnership with the Commonwealth to deliver both Pfizer and AstraZeneca, consider the use of the Pfizer in the younger working population, in order to prevent the spread.
"The individual benefits of vaccination are so clear, both vaccines are very effective at preventing against severe illness and hospitalisation."
'We need to vaccinate younger people'
Dr Chant said young people in south-west Sydney were the driving force keeping Sydney going and getting them doses of the Pfizer vaccine must be a priority.
"These workplaces are not the hairdressers or the discretionary premises, they are premises that actually put food on the table for people in Sydney," she said.
"They are the people that keep our supermarkets in stock, working in food processing and other settings.
"Because of that, my view is that we need to get vaccines into younger people in south-western Sydney and as the Premier indicated, south-western Sydney and parts of Western Sydney have some of the lower levels of vaccination coverage which poses another challenge, and so we need to redouble our efforts in supporting that community to have access to vaccinations.
"We need to vaccinate younger people, between that 20- and 40-year-old age group."
'Oceans of AstraZeneca'
Ms Berejiklian said she wanted to see clear messaging around the nation about the AstraZeneca vaccine, adding she had received it herself when the health advice recommended it for under-60s.
"I'm 50 and I had it and I'm appealing to everyone that Dr Chant is, for me, the most respected medical person in Australia in public health, if she is saying it's OK for over-40s to have AstraZeneca, please take the advice," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The risk of any adverse condition from the jab is minuscule compared to the serious illness you can get if you get the COVID virus and you don't have any dose of the vaccine."
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reiterated the message, saying the state had "oceans of AstraZeneca" available and people should consider vaccination as an "obligation to yourself, the community, New South Wales and indeed Australia, because this could leak further into other states."
NSW 'on the precipice'
Earlier this morning, infectious disease expert, Professor Robert Booy, said the state "is on the precipice" of losing control of the current outbreak if local infections keep growing.
"It's so close. It is still possible to get control over the next week or so," Professor Booy told Today.
"With so many in the community infectious, different chains of transmission, unrecognised chains of transmission, it's a real challenge."
Professor Booy said while numbers this week have grown, the coming days would indicate if the harder lockdown has had any real effect.
"If there really is an improvement over the weekend, that's great. If not, there will be harder lockdowns, more shops that won't be able to open, more travel that won't be allowed. We will have an even stronger lockdown than we currently have," he said.
Professor Booy said there was data suggesting the Delta variant could have gotten out of control prior to the current NSW outbreak and an earlier lockdown could have made a difference.
"(If we) possibly started three to four days earlier in NSW. I myself didn't recommend it, so they're at fault, I'm at fault, many others are at fault. We could have done better," he said.
It comes as Queensland has again closed the border with NSW in a bid to keep the Delta strain out of the northern state.
Hundreds of police are now manning checkpoints along the border after traces of coronavirus were found in Byron Bay's sewage systems.
The traces were found in a treatment plant that services about 19,000 people in Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise, and Broken Head, raising new fears the COVID-19 cluster may have spread outside of Sydney again.
"There are no known cases in this area, which is of great concern," the department said in its latest public health alert overnight.
Authorities have asked everyone in the Byron Bay region to be on high alert for any symptoms, "and if they appear, to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received".