PROTESTERS have been urged to reconsider any planned demonstrations on the weekend as NSW added 170 cases, with at least 42 infectious in the community.
While the figures have dropped from a peak on Thursday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said authorities expected the numbers to "bounce around" and urged people to get vaccinated to bring the outbreak to a close.
Friday's numbers come a day after the state's daily cases hit a nadir, soaring to the highest daily figures of the Sydney outbreak to date.
It led to declarations that those unwilling to seek vaccination who were eligible had been "selfish".
"Obviously today's number is considerably lower than yesterday's, but don't expect it to stay down," she said.
"The more jabs in arms, the more we can have freedom."
Ms Berejiklian said anyone considering protesting in Sydney or elsewhere at the weekend should reconsider what it could mean for their family members if they transmitted the virus to them.
"Do not give those you love the most a death sentence," Ms Berejiklian said.
NSW Police Commissoner Mick Fuller said up to 1000 officers would be waiting to head off planned protests in Sydney, cautioning that dozens of people had been arrested after last weekend's gatherings and those who attended had been warned.
Asked whether regional NSW's vaccine rollout was losing out at the expense of Sydney, Ms Berejiklian said that she believed the regions understood they were "giving up a small number of doses for a short period of time" to protect Sydney students, praising the regional effort to keep the virus at bay.
More than 95,000 people were tested in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Thursday.
Mr Potter said that the Australian Defence Force was called in due to "exponential" rises in the number of compliance cases officers were examining.
"The sheer volume of increase over the last week has been enormous," he said.
Dr Kerry Chant said there were 187 COVID cases in hospital, with 58 in intensive care and 24 requiring ventilation. 77 of the new cases were linked to a known case or cluster.
Dr Chant said there had no cases linked to last weekend's protest but noted that people may not be forthcoming if they had attended.
IN THE NEWS:
She said authorities were investigating whether a person had made it to the gathering last week after being turned away and fined by police in their attempts.
"If he got there, he was essentially carrying a deadly weapon: the virus," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters.
Dr Chant said she supported measures of "zero tolerance" given what was at stake, and suggested regional communities would be furious if the defiance led to infections in their areas.
"This is too much a severe disease... to have people knowingly going out when they are positive," she said.
"I just can't contemplate why people think gathering together in a space, travelling together on public transport from all parts of NSW, would be a good idea at the moment.
"It is just so thoughtless, and the impact on others too great."
Normally a concert venue, Qudos Bank Arena at Homebush will be made available from August 9 to vaccinate Year 12 students from the eight local government areas in the crosshairs of contact tracers as the lockdown continues.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: