If the past month has felt like a COVID-19 rollercoaster it's because in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District it has been.
Despite having few cases at the beginning of the outbreak - between zero and two per day in June - once the virus arrived in our region it began to spread.
This meant as the state overall began to see numbers drop, our region was watching them rise.
Bruce Ashford, co-director of Wollongong Hospital's COVID support team, said part of the reason for this was that the Illawarra's vaccination rates lagged behind Greater Sydney's.
The highest number of cases reported by NSW Health in one day was 1363 on September 12.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, however, did not peak until 11 days later on September 23 with 103 cases reported on that day.
At the time the most common site of transmission in the region was households.
Of the 103, 82 people tested positive for COVID in Wollongong alone, with 14 cases in Shellharbour, five in Kiama, and two in Shoalhaven. Daily numbers for the ISLHD continued to hover between 52 and 96 for the rest of the month.
From the start of October, as vaccination rates have increased, local case numbers began to decline, and remained below 60 per day for the past week. There are fears case numbers will climb again due to eased restrictions from Monday.
Mr Ashford said a number of homeless people in the Illawarra were infected, and that also presented a challenge to health services.
"We had to address not just the health needs but the housing and support needs these individuals had," he said.
Fully vaccinated people are now allowed to travel within the Greater Sydney area, attend gyms, pubs, clubs, retail stores and personal services, such as hairdressers.
Social distancing requirements, the use of QR check-ins and wearing masks in closed spaces remain in place. Vaccination rates across the health district are high.
As of October 11 all Local Government Areas in the district have exceeded 70 per cent double vaccinated and 80 per cent first dose. Wollongong is at 88 per cent first dose, 70 per cent fully vaccinated; Shellharbour over 95 per cent first dose, 72 per cent fully vaccinated; Kiama 94 per cent first dose and 78 per cent fully vaccinated; Shoalhaven is over 95 per cent first dose and 73 per cent fully vaccinated.
However, Mr Ashford said young people were under-represented in vaccination figures.
"We know Delta does not discriminate based on age," he said.
"I hate to think of people the same age as my children being the majority we see become ill and go to hospital.
"Save yourself and your family that grief - Pfizer and Moderna are available across all age groups now. get vaccinated."