The Hunter region has dodged a bullet so far in its battle against the novel coronavirus, going seven weeks without an outbreak at a nursing home, hospital, school or business.
Sydney and several regional NSW towns have been plagued by institutional outbreaks which have, in some cases, proved devastating.
Hunter New England Health public health physician Dr David Durrheim confirmed the virus had not caused any such clusters in the Hunter since the first case was detected in Cessnock 42 days ago.
"We haven't had any institutions closed," Dr Durrheim said. "We do know how devastating COVID-19 can be in, for example, aged care facilities, so it's important that we keep it out of those high-risk settings."
Four people have died amid 44 infections at Anglicare Newmarch House nursing home in western Sydney after a health worker came to work while contagious for six days this month.
Six residents at Dorothy Henderson Lodge in north-west Sydney and two at Opal Care Bankstown have died.
At least 12 schools in Sydney have recorded positive tests in staff or students, and a handful of Sydney doctors, nurses, midwives and childcare workers have contracted the virus.
Gosford Hospital has 13 confirmed cases and Vista Windows in Sydney 11.
Tuggerah Centrelink call centre has all but closed after a positive test this week, and a Sydney Church of Christ service on March 8 at Ryde attended by more than 300 people produced 13 cases.
The HNEH district has had a relatively charmed run and again reported no new cases on Friday, the seventh time this has happened in the past fortnight.
One of few outbreak scares in the region was when an Oakvale Wines employee tested positive in mid-March.
The vineyard closed voluntarily, even though Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was safe to stay open.
Dr Durrheim agreed the region had been "fortunate" to have found only small clusters of positive tests in family groups.
He said the region's relative success to date in keeping the virus away from high-risk settings was due to its public health team.
"I think we've been very focused on ensuring that we really follow up on cases as soon as we're aware of them and really trying to track the source of the infection. We have then rigorously identified who their close contacts are and isolated them."
Three Hunter people have died since the pandemic reached Australia. Two of these contracted the virus on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship and the other is believed to have been infected while interstate.
NSW Health reported seven new positive tests across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.
It said the state now had the laboratory capacity to double the daily number of tests from 4000 to 8000 over the next week and urged anyone with symptoms of an acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, tiredness or sore throat, to come forward.