A WOMAN in her 20s who acquired her COVID infection in a Wyong group home has died in hospital, health authorities have confirmed.
Hunter health authorities said a man had also died in the John Hunter Hospital on Thursday with the virus, while two Singleton cases have rocked the shire just a day after it emerged from lockdown.
A home quarantine trial will begin in the next few weeks, potentially marking an expiry date for the NSW hotel quarantine system that has pervaded much of the pandemic.
The region added 24 cases in Friday's update, with another 27 detected on the Central Coast.
12 were infectious in the community, with the status of fine unknown. 14 of the cases are linked.
Friday's figures mean there are 219 active cases, 419 close contacts in isolation and 11 cases in hospital within the region.
Two cases are in intensive care.
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Ten of the fresh infections are from Newcastle - three in both Wallsend and Elermore Vale, one in Mayfield, another in Mayfield East, one in North Lambton and one in Bar Beach.
Lake Macquarie added eight cases: two in Toronto and one each in Wangi Wangi, Balcolyn, Mount Hutton, Edgeworth, Glendale and Belmont South while Port Stephens had a case in both Tanilba NBay and Nelson Bay.
Singleton added two cases a day after Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell warned a single case could thrust it back under stay-at-home orders.
"Before you go and plan a party ... we need to remember it will only take a single community transmission for us all to go back into a 14-day lockdown," he said on Thursday.
No announcement on the area's lockdown status was offered at the 11am press briefing.
Maitland and Glen Inness, which falls in the health district's footprint, both added a case.
The Maitland case was in Rutherford.
Deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale repeated the message for people in Karuah to seek testing as sewage testing continued to indicate a viral load.
12 more people died with the virus across NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, NSW Health said, with 1284 COVID cases statewide in the same period.
"Every day the statistics are given out in detail, but behind every death there is a family," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
"It's a reminder of how sinister and deadly this virus is."Ms Berejiklian said.
The deaths include two of these people were in their 20s, three people were in their 50s, one person was in their 60s, two people were in their 70s, three people were in their 80s, and one person was in their 90s.
- Seven of the 12 were not vaccinated, and three more had received just one dose.
- A woman in her 20s from western Sydney died at Nepean Hospital.
- A woman in her 20s, a resident of the Wyong Life Without Barriers group home, died at Gosford Hospital
- Three people who died were residents of aged care facilities in Dubbo.
- A woman in her 80s died at the Holy Spirit aged care facility.
- A woman in her 90s, who was fully vaccinated, and a man in his 80s, who was partially vaccinated, died at St Mary's Villa aged care facility in Dubbo
- Two people from western Sydney - a man in his 50s and a woman in her 80s - died at their homes and their COVID-19 infections were diagnosed following their deaths. Neither person was vaccinated.
The premier said there were opportunities to relieve some restrictions, but the state's population needed to "stay the course".
One thing she said the state expected to happen at 80 per cent fully vaccinated was the international border opening for both returns and departures.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism Stuart Ayres said 175 people would be involved in the four-week trial of home quarantine.
NSW Police would be involved in selecting the participants, and Mr Ayres said the pilot was designed to examine a range of accommodation types.
"Sydney is a global city, and it must engage with the globe," he said.
"This is an important step in that direction."
Ms Berejiklian said "nothing would give us greater joy than having our hotels returned to tourists".
"We should all be thinking about how we transition, how we move to the new system," she said.
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