A southwest Sydney woman in her 50s has died after contracting COVID-19, becoming the fifth person in NSW to die amid the current outbreak.
The Green Valley woman was reportedly linked to the two removalists who travelled to central-west NSW, including to Orange, while one was known to be COVID-positive.
Her body was found in her home on Monday morning, and NSW Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.
The woman is the 61st person to die of COVID-19 in NSW since early 2020. There are 82 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 24 in intensive care and seven being ventilated.
The news of the woman’s demise comes as NSW recorded 98 new local cases of COVID-19, with as many as 44 of the cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Sunday being active in the community while infectious, including 20 for their entire infectious period.
“The closer we get that number to zero, the sooner we can end the lockdown,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. But she warned that the effect of harsh new restrictions in Greater Sydney – including the shut-down of the construction sector – won’t be reflected in case numbers for another four or five days, she said.
A total of 1340 people have officially contracted the virus since the first case – an unvaccinated airport limousine driver – was diagnosed on June 16.
Greater Sydney’s lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight on July 30, but the Premier is not prepared to give a definitive end date until she sees the data over the next few days.
The state government has also warned children may have to be vaccinated to protect against the highly contagious Delta variant.
“In previous strands, we have not seen younger people get the virus in the way they are,” Berejiklian said.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the state needed to think about making vaccines available for children, particularly those of high school age, once older age groups are immunised.
“I think there will be a key role for vaccinating children and also having booster vaccination rolled out quite quickly as well,” Dr Chant said.
The admission throws into question the state’s goal of getting 80 per cent of the adult population jabbed before starting a conversation about opening up.
The premier said the community would have to live with “some level of restriction” until vaccination rates were at an acceptable level.
She also doubled down on her weekend decision to shut the construction industry, with tradies across Greater Sydney forced to down tools for two weeks.
Having thousands of people being mobile and moving around from communities where cases were concentrated was “too big a risk”, she said.
Workplaces are the second-most common site for transmission in this outbreak.
Construction workplaces will get extra COVID-safe measures like on-site testing to ensure work can resume soon, with Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and key senior public servants meeting with the sector daily.
It’s the first time the construction industry has been shut anywhere in Australia since the pandemic began.
Other new restrictions imposed over the weekend include the closure of non-essential retail outlets and the scaling back of public transport.