FIVE of the Hunter's six fresh cases were infectious in the community, with two infected while working in Sydney.
The Wednesday update's additions take Newcastle's outbreak to 77 active cases and 646 close contacts.
A pregnant woman remains in intensive care in Newcastle but is not ventilated, NSW deputy chief health officer Dr Marianne Gale told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday in response to a question about the patient's inability to get a vaccination.
Four of the fresh cases are in Lake Macquarie: one at Whitebridge, one at Belmont, one at Swansea Heads and another in Catherine Hill Bay.
NSW added 1116 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday evening.
Wednesday's cases updates followed a slew of fresh exposure sites in the Hunter, including a Sydney tree lopping firm that was active in the region for two weeks and has multiple employees who have since tested positive.
Tensions are heightened given the region also reported widespread sewage detections.
All four Lake Macquarie patients were infectious in the community and are linked to known cases.
Hunter New England Health's Dr David Durrheim said two of the Lake Macquarie cases had travelled to Sydney for work: one in construction, the other at Parklea Corrections Centre.
"[The tradesperson] is a very keen surfer and so there's a callout to the people in the Lake Macquarie beaches area - Swansea, Caves Beach, Swansea Heads - to really not ignore any symptoms at this point that are predictive of COVID," he said.
"It may be the wattles that are causing you to sniffle ... but it may be COVID, so don't ignore those symptoms."
A Windale case reported on Tuesday has now been excluded "following multiple repeat tests yesterday that returned negative results".
Dr Gale said that efforts continued to staunch infections in the prison system, with Parklea's outbreak growing to 80 in the latest numbers.
She said that the Parklea outbreak had not spread to other prisons, with Bathurst cases separate.
"From a health perspective clearly we are concerned about prisons as a setting for spread," she said.
"Clearly at the moment we're primarily concenred around cases in the Parklea centre ... there's a lot of effort going into that, but I think it does demonstrate the risk in the prison system."
Newcastle had a fresh case infectious in the community at Jesmond in Wednesday's figures.
Its source of infection is a mystery and investigations are ongoing, while an Elermore Vale case was isolating and is linked to a known case.
Two more cases on the Central Coast were linked to previous infections.
Four deaths were also recorded: four women who were not vaccinated and had underlying health conditions, Ms Berejiklian said.
They were aged in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said international travel could return for NSW residents after the state hits its target of 80 per cent fully vaccinated, a milestone expected in November.
She said NSW was expected to hit 70 per cent "in the next few days", and she was hopeful interstate travel could also arrive when international travel was permitted.
"What we're doing in NSW is entirely consistent with the national plan we all signed up to," she said.
"If not at 80 per cent double dose, as our national plan says, then when?"
Ms Berejiklian said a halving of international arrivals was temporary and "we're still taking more than any other state".
"Once we get through September and October, and once we get to 80 per cent double dose, I want NSW to lead the way [on international travel]," she said.
"I would welcome Australians coming home through Sydney Airport ... once you are welcoming home Aussies who are fully vaccinated, you have a different quarantine system."
In the wake of Tuesday's protests across NSW, the premier urged people who wanted to protest lockdown measures to do it responsibly, noting that dissent was part of "a healthy democracy".
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Ms Berejiklian urged people to watch vaccination levels and hospitalisaton levels as the two most important indicators of how NSW was faring.
"The national plan does say at 70 per cent vaccination you can expect to go out and have a meal ... but obviously we'll take a responsible approach," she said.
"I'm not saying different to anything every other state has signed up to."
Ms Berejiklian said Sydney's hot spots had high vaccination rates now, and that "everybody should expect a level of freedom which they don't have today" once the state reaches 70 per cent fully inoculated "so long as you're fully vaccinated".
The state had 148,000 people vaccinated on Tuesday and more than 170,000 tests.
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