COVID-19 case numbers have had a huge spike in the Hunter New England region, where almost 2000 new cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday - the Newcastle local government area alone had more fresh cases in the period than the entire region the previous day.
The latest daily figure, 1983, is approaching triple the tally from a day earlier, when there were 708 new cases in the region.
Cases in the Newcastle local government area have rocketed up to 730, from 153 a day prior, while Lake Macquarie had a significant day-on-day increase at 480, up from 194.
Hunter New England Health noted in its daily update on Friday morning that there were 10,138 active cases in the region, 35 people in hospital and two patients in intensive care.
Aside from the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas, Maitland had 245 new cases, Port Stephens had 138, Cessnock had 120, Mid Coast had 100, Singleton had 43 and Muswellbrook had 24.
Tamworth had 21 new cases, Upper Hunter had 19, Armidale had 17, Moree Plains had 11, Narrabri had 10, Dungog and Inverell had eight, Gunnedah had three, Liverpool Plains had two and Glen Innes, Gwydir, Uralla and Walcha had one each.
It came on a day when NSW recorded more than 21,000 new cases across the state.
Hunter New England Health has issued advice ahead of the region's New Year's Eve celebrations this afternoon and tonight.
The local health authority is urging people not to attend any events if they have COVID-19 symptoms, hold events outside and avoid high-risk settings, ensure windows are open if events are inside, check-in where required, wear a mask and practise physical distancing.
The health authority is also calling on people to take a rapid antigen test before socialising, if possible.
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