There were only 26 active COVID-19 cases in the Hunter on Friday, as the region recorded a fifth straight day without any new cases.
Despite the positive progress towards eliminating the virus, public health physician David Durrheim urged Hunter residents to stay the course.
"We've made some really positive progress towards getting COVID-19 under control but we need to be careful not to become complacent," he said on Friday morning.
"We're all keen to return to our normal lives, but even as restrictions ease vigilance is still needed to ensure we don't get a resurgence of the virus, which is a possibility.
"What we're really looking at is a new type of normal until an effective vaccine is broadly available."
The majority of the 26 active cases in the Upper and Lower Hunter were in and around the postcodes of Maitland and East Maitland (5), western Lake Macquarie (4) and Cessnock (3).
There are no active cases in Upper Hunter postcodes.
Of the 207 cases diagnosed in the region, Cessnock recorded the highest number with 20, followed by Wallsend,17, West Lake Macquarie,15, and Maitland and East Maitland 21.
Of the 277 cases diagnosed in the entire Hunter New England Health District, 231 had recovered as of Friday.
Two COVID-19 patients are currently being cared for in Hunter New England hospitals and seven are receiving Hospital in the Home support.
"If we can do that throughout the country we can probably get to the stage where we can relax some of these measures further, but we're not yet at that stage," he told the Newcastle Herald.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday morning that "four or five" new cases across the state were believed to have emerged due to community transmission.
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said Australians were exceeding expectations in most aspects of new health guidelines, but encouraged more people to download the government's tracking application, COVIDSafe.
The national cabinet has agreed to bring forward a decision to relax restrictions to next Friday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison citing the good work of citizens so far.
"Australians have earned an early mark through the work that they have done," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Dr Durrheim said good hygiene and social distancing should remain front of mind even as restrictions were wound back.
"We will need to continue to test widely, and monitor cases closely as restrictions ease," he said.
"Regular hand hygiene, meticulous cough and sneeze etiquette, and continuing to stand back are our new normal.
"Let's all make sure that we are not giving the virus another chance."
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