NSW has 20,148 COVID-19 cases, 30 deaths
NSW has reported 20,148 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths as the state's parents wait to hear the government's plan to keep children safe when school returns.
The deaths include 18 men and 12 women who died with the virus, with one person aged in their 50s and the rest in their 70s and 90s.
Nine of the people who died were unvaccinated
After dropping for two consecutive days for the first time in a month, the number of hospitalisations increased again on Saturday, with 2762 people in hospital.
The number of people in ICU decreased by five to 204, while two more people were placed on ventilators, bringing the total to 70.
That's better than NSW Health's "best-case scenario" predictions, based on outbreaks in London and South Africa, which projected a peak of 3158 people in hospital and 270 in ICU.
Premier Dominic Perrottet again stressed on Saturday that vaccinations and boosters were key to living alongside the virus, and the health system is "under pressure" but coping.
He says "the facts and the evidence speaks for itself" on vaccinations.
Fully vaccinated people make up 93.9 per cent of the population in NSW, and the significantly smaller number of unvaccinated people make up almost 50 per cent of the people in intensive care units with the virus, the premier says.
There were 8566 cases reported from rapid antigen tests on Saturday and NSW Health saysÂ 7687 are from the previous seven days.
Authorities also note "there may be some cases included in these numbers where people have reported positive RATs on multiple days ... or had a positive PCR test during the same reporting period".
A week before the NSW school term is due to begin the state is yet to release a plan to return kids to classrooms amid the continuing outbreak.
"We are doing it in a way that is safe for parents, safe for teachers and safe for children, and we'll be announcing those plans alongside the Victorian Government shortly," Mr Perrottet said on Saturday.
The premier on Friday said rapid antigen tests would play a "short-term role" to boost confidence and that opening schools on day one was "critically important".
Opposition Leader Chris Minns said parents and teachers urgently needed clarity.
"We really need the NSW premier to front up and explain to the parents and teachers and students of this state when that plan will be released," he said on Friday.
Labor has suggested the government use public schools as vaccination hubs in a bid to boost the number of children who have received at least one vaccine dose before schools return. That figure was 24.1 per cent on Saturday.
NSW Health deputy secretary Susan Pearce says the government does "a lot of school based vaccinations in normal circumstances" and will do some for COVID-19, but schools are not currently operating and the vaccines, some of which require being held at extremely low temperatures, "can be a little tricker to handle".
She says the state has plenty of places where people can seek vaccination and the experience vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds suggested there was no need to turn schools into hubs.
"The uptake of the vaccine in that age group was very swift, and not done in a school based program," Ms Pearce said.
Some 78.4 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds had been fully vaccinated on Saturday and 82.6 per cent had received at least one dose.