People are ripping medical supplies off hospital walls, according to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Hospitals across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District including Bulli, Wollongong and Shoalhaven hospitals have been targetted in recent weeks, the Mercury understands.
A health worker, who did not wish to be named, said hand sanitiser had been taken off the ends of beds and off walls, masks outside infectious rooms had been stolen and rolls of plastic gowns were disappearing.
These items were now being locked away to deter would-be thieves.
The shocking news come as COVID-19 cases on the coast rise by seven and by 174 across the state.
In the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, there were seven new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday, taking the overall tally to 69.
Across NSW, the total number of cases is now 1791 cases, with 24 people in intensive care units.
The death toll remained unchanged at eight.
In NSW it is the 20-29 years age group that has the most coronavirus cases, with 371.
Mr Hazzard said he was shocked to hear that people were stealing vital supplies from hospitals across the state.
"I am mortified to hear that in some of our hospitals people are actually stealing hand cleaner and other items that will keep our frontline staff safe," Mr Hazzard said.
"I've even heard reports of hand cleanser containers being ripped off the walls in hospitals. I can't think of anything more appalling."
Sunday was also the first day of the state government's mandatory 14-day self-isolation for Australians returning from overseas.
They will now have to stay in a hotel in Sydney for two weeks.
Any breach of that order could attract a fine up to $11,000 or a six-month jail sentence.
"The need for that quarantine in our hotels is absolutely crucial," Mr Hazzard said.
"We have still thousands of our people returning from some of the most dangerous places in the world for COVID-19.
"So to have this new measure will hopefully make a huge difference to ensuring those people are not out and about in the community."
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