Health authorities and the state government are becoming increasingly concerned about COVID-19 in the Illawarra after the number of new cases skyrocketed at the weekend.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District recorded 27 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday: 12 were in Wollongong, 11 in Shellharbour, two in Kiama and two in Shoalhaven.
The previous day, it was confirmed that 53 residents of the health district had tested positive for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period, which represented the highest daily increase in the region's cases since the start of the pandemic.
Thirty-five of those cases were in Wollongong alone.
"We're very concerned that people really need to heed those messages about getting tested, being alert for symptoms, maintain the COVID-safe practices and importantly, get a vaccine if you haven't already got one," NSW Health's Dr Jeremy McAnulty said on Monday.
Of the new Illawarra cases, 10 - four in Wollongong, four in Shellharbour, and one each in Kiama and Shoalhaven - are linked to known cases, while investigations continue into the source of infection for the others.
Traces of the COVID virus have also been detected in sewage in Gerroa, where there have been no recent cases.
Dr McAnulty urged anyone with even the slightest of symptoms to come forward for testing.
Across NSW there were 1257 new cases of community transmission and the deaths of another seven people, aged from their 60s to their 90s, reported yesterday.
Hospitals are treating 1189 people with COVID, 222 of whom are in intensive care.
Ninety-four of these people are on ventilators.
There are 13 residents of the Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD with COVID in hospital.
Since this outbreak emerged in mid-June, 38,856 people have acquired COVID in NSW, including 395 residents of this local health district.
Keira MP and Labor health spokesman Ryan Park said the rising case numbers in the region were concerning for residents.
"What I say to the community now is that we must ensure that we are doing everything possible as individuals to follow that health advice, wear our masks, make sure the few freedoms that we are granted today, you do so in a sensible way," Mr Park said.
"Because what we do know with Delta, 53 cases can very quickly turn into hundreds of cases, and we simply cannot afford that situation."'