Five residents of the Illawarra are among 882 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in NSW, with seven now in hospital.
The region's new cases include three people from Wollongong and two from Shellharbour.
One of the Wollongong cases is linked to another known case, but investigations are underway for the other four.
The number of locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Thursday was down on the 1029 recorded the day before, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned this week that numbers will bounce around.
Another two people with COVID have sadly lost their lives: a man in his 60s and a man in his 90s.
There are 767 people with COVID in hospital in NSW, including seven Illawarra residents in Wollongong Hospital as of Thursday - an increase of four.
Of the patients across the state, 117 are in intensive care and 47 are on ventilators.
Surveillance work has also detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID in the sewage treatment plant at Picton, which serves about 14,600 people, but there are no known cases in this area.
People in this area are urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they appear.
To date, more than 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and almost 62 per cent of people have had at least one dose.
The premier reiterated that everyone in NSW would have "more freedom" when 70 per cent of the state's population was fully vaccinated.
"Even if you open up with 20 cases or 30 cases or zero cases, Delta is going to creep in and out and cases will increase as the rate of freedom increases," Ms Berejiklian said.
"It is really important for all of us to come to terms with that."
She said the government was working on plans to reopen certain industries at the 70 per cent full vaccination mark.
"We've made those plans very clear. It will be a very staged and safe way to go back but we are asking industry to work with us," Ms Berejiklian said.
From Saturday, anyone entering an area of concern for work - or authorised workers leaving it - must have a permit from Service NSW.