DEPUTY premier John Barilaro has warned of an extension to stay-at-home orders in regional NSW, less than two days after the snap-lockdown came into effect.
Responding to questions from journalists on Monday afternoon, Mr Barilaro advised that case numbers were expected to grow, which could see the lockdown go beyond the seven days announced by the state government on Saturday afternoon.
"If I was a betting man, I would argue that it's a 50-50 call still. What's occurring in western NSW is alarming," he said.
"Those numbers, on our projections, will continue to grow and grow significantly. That will hamper the decision to come out.
"I would argue that of previous arrangements, where you're doing something more broader like this, we look for an incubation period of 14 days - that's why you have 14 days quarantining. So I would say at this stage of what the numbers look like, especially in western NSW, there is a real chance that we'll end up going to a 14-day lockdown."
He stressed it was just his opinion, and he would leave it up to the health experts to determine if an extended lockdown was necessary in regional NSW.
In the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday, NSW recorded 478 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.
Thirty-five of those new cases were identified in the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD), with 32 in Dubbo and three in Mudgee.
As of 8pm, there were 98 active cases in the WNSWLHD, with 91 of those in Dubbo, four in Walgett and three in Mudgee.
Mr Barilaro said the number of active cases in the community and results of sewage surveillance will be the key metrics used to determine whether or not it is safe to lift the lockdown at 12.01am Sunday.
He indicated that, when the time comes, lockdown might not be lifted for regional NSW as a whole, suggesting that local government areas will be considered individually.
LGAs with zero cases and exposure sites might be released from lockdown, while those still experiencing cases remain under the strict stay-at-home orders.
"There is no reason in the regions we couldn't do that, because there are big parts of regional and rural NSW that have never had COVID, nor will get COVID, fingers crossed, but we'll look at that when the time comes in the weeks ahead," he said.
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