Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

The Hunter has recorded 82 new COVID cases on “Freedom Day” as the region continues to send some of the highest numbers in New South Wales.

Many parts of the region have not yet reached the 70 percent double vaccination target, and health officials are urging locals to be cautious despite eased restrictions.

28 of the 82 cases in the Hunter New England (HNE) Health District were in Lake Macquarie.

There were 14 in Cessnock, nine in Newcastle, seven in Maitland, four in Port Stephens, three in Muswellbrook and one in Upper Hunter.

Hunter’s public health controller David Durrheim said he expected a careful approach to opening up the retail and hospitality sector.

“I think until we are all heading towards the 90 percent double-grown, we will be a little more careful,” he said.

He said the hunter needed to prepare for more cases.

“I think we’re going to have a couple of uneven weeks with the Delta tribe,” he said.

“So the hospitals are preparing, the health care system is preparing.”

A total of 496 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus were registered across NSW.

Only South Western Sydney LHD had more cases than HNE in the most recent reporting period.

A store owner in a clothing store.
Karen Radzievic says the last few months have been challenging for her business.(ABC Newcastle: Jenny Marchant)

Dealer ‘nervous’

Fully vaccinated can now have up to 10 double-dosed guests over the age of 12 in their homes.

Cafes, restaurants, bars, gyms, hairdressers and shops can reopen by following the rule of one person per. Four square meters.

Karen Radzievic owns a women’s clothing store in Boolaroo that welcomes returning customers today.

“We had a thriving business and it was hard to see it up close without our own fault,” she said.

The company set up an online site and a click-and-collect system during the lockdown, but still has a lot of clothes to sell.

“We closed in August with a lot of winter and trans season stock — we are now reopening with a store full of summer clothes,” Radzievic said.

Ms Radzievic hopes that customers who are against vaccination requirements will not cause too much trouble.

“There are people with all different beliefs about vaccination, and for that we are now giving the mandate that when people come in the door, I’m pretty nervous,” she said.

Noel Pate, who runs a news agency in Boolaroo, says locals express concern about the possible influx of people into the area.

“If people still abide by the basic rules, I think we should all survive,” he said.

“COVID numbers have not dropped in Lake Macquarie at this stage, so yes, we just have to wait and see, I think.”

A nurse injects a vaccine into a patient's arm.
Awabakal Medical Service has been working to vaccinate Indigenous people in the Newcastle region.(Delivered: Awabakal)

‘Real vulnerabilities’

Deputy Prime Minister and member of New England Barnaby Joyce was in Lake Macquarie today to announce funding for the Glendales Hunter Sports Center and took the opportunity to urge people to get the plug.

“We’re all over it, we’re all tired of it,” he said.

Access to vaccine supplies has increased in some communities about three weeks after the state’s total rate.

Pricing in Hunter’s native community has become a major concern, with 60 of last week’s cases being diagnosed in indigenous people.

Less than half of the eligible indigenous population in the region is fully vaccinated.

“We still need to make sure we drive that vaccination rate up in the Aboriginal community,” Joyce said.

“The National Security Committee makes sure we have a real focus because they have real vulnerabilities.

Additional reporting by Delia Bell.

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