New South Wales (NSW) has reported 124 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, the highest daily number since the outbreak began in Sydney in mid-June.
At least 70 of those people were in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned cases numbers would rise again.
“There’s no doubt, again, that we anticipate case numbers will continue to go up before they start coming down, and we need to brace ourselves for that,” she said on Thursday.
The spike in cases was recorded in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and was up from 110 the previous day.
The previous high was 112 cases announced on July 12.
Of the 124 cases, 37 were in isolation throughout their infectious period, 22 were in isolation for part of their infectious period, and 48 cases were infectious in the community.
The isolation status of 17 cases remains under investigation.
The premier said a record 85,185 people had been tested and that had resulted in higher case numbers.
“I’m expecting case numbers to go up even higher,” she said.
NSW Health’s Dr. Jeremy McAnulty said the new numbers included three workers in two Sydney aged care facilities.
A worker at a southern Sydney aged care home, The Palms at Kirrawee, has tested positive.
“This person wasn’t vaccinated, and the residents and staff have been tested. Two staff members at an aged care facility in Belrose have tested positive,” McAnulty said.
Greater Sydney and surrounding regions will have to wait until at least the weekend to see what impact harsher lockdown rules have had and whether the lockdown will end on time.
Ms Berejiklian says the virus must be quashed before restrictions, now in a fourth week, can be lifted.
“From July 31, we hope to be able to explain to the community what we can do in relation to adjusting those settings,” she said.