IT IS anticipated that an extension to lockdown in regional NSW will be announced at the 11am press conference tomorrow.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the lockdown was to be discussed at this afternoon's crisis cabinet meeting, but he would not be drawn on the likelihood of it being extended.
"We as a crisis cabinet will have to make a decision: do we want to go on a LGA (Local Government Area) approach, or do we want to go on a state-wide approach? That's a decision that hasn't been made, but once we make that decision, if we are prepared to go on an LGA approach, we can set some criteria around that," Mr Barilaro said.
"It could be something like there are no cases, no segments through the sewage surveillance and you're not an adjoining LGA to a LGA that may have cases. They could be the three criteria that you apply and that could easily, in my mind, work out who opens and who doesn't.
"But that's only if, once we map this out across the board, what that looks like as a footprint on regional/rural NSW and what risk that then poses for those areas that have no cases."
A positive COVID case was confirmed in Kempsey today - and adjoining LGAs are Port Macquarie-Hastings to the south and Nambucca Valley to the north.
However, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, who is one of the seven ministers involved in crisis cabinet talks, told Australian Community Media (publishers of the Macleay Argus) that it was highly likely regional communities would remain under stay-at-home orders.
"I think realistically people are expecting another seven days of stay-at-home orders in regional NSW," Mr Toole said.
"What we've actually seen is escalating numbers that have been occurring across the State. You've got places like Dubbo with 128 cases, cases in Mudgee, Bourke, we've had exposure sites in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo, we've had positive fragments detected in the sewage in Bathurst and Orange as well, so it does seem highly likely that we will be in for another seven-day period."
The Mid North Coast's COVID-free bubble burst with NSW Health confirming a case in Kempsey, a 14-year-old girl who travelled home after spending time in Newcastle.
The Mid North Coast had remained COVID-free for more than 478 days despite being surrounded by a ring of positive cases from Greater Sydney through to the Hunter-New England and the Northern Rivers.
Mr Barilaro flagged earlier in the week that there was a "50-50" chance of lockdown being lifted at 12.01am on Sunday, and that potentially some regional local government areas would be released before others.
The comments followed another record day of new COVID-19 cases in NSW, with 633 identified in the 24 hours to 8pm Tuesday.
With the situation seemingly getting worse, residents of regional NSW have been urged to continue following the health advice 'to the letter' and to get vaccinated.
"The majority of people are doing the right thing and I've got to say thank you for doing that. These people are keeping themselves, their families and the community safe. But, again, we don't want to see a small minority of people doing the wrong thing because you're putting everything at risk," Mr Toole said.
"Stay at home orders are about trying to lessen any mobility at the moment so that we can stop the spread of this virus while people are getting vaccinated as quickly as possible."
Masks must be worn indoors (not including the home) and in outdoor settings where you cannot socially distance from others. Anyone who leaves their home must carry a mask with them at all times.
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:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.