UPDATE: NSW Premier Galdys Berejiklian has defended the redirection of COVID-19 vaccines from regional NSW to Sydney year 12 students.
"It's only 20,000 first doses and 20,000 second doses that we're redirecting, so in the scheme of things that's not a lot," she said.
"We've had to be innovative because we've been told what we can't have so what we need to do is make the most of what we do have and be smart about it, be quick about it and make sure that we provide support for our community."
The Premier said rural and regional NSW had 100 sites for vaccines, with a number of pharmacists also coming on board.
She noted the regions had largely avoided COVID-19 cases so far and residents enjoyed more freedoms than Sydneysiders.
"I think the regional communities have done an outstanding job, I thank them for their courtesy and their generosity," she said.
"I think they understand that they're just giving up for a short period of time a small number of doses, for a very short period of time, so that we can target those students that we're desperate to make sure they get through this very difficult period."
IN OTHER NEWS:
EARLIER: NSW has recorded 170 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases, with at least 42 out in the community during their infectious period.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said reducing the number of people out and about while infectious was crucial.
"That is the number that we want to come down in order for us to have that level of freedom that all of us want to have," she said on Friday morning.
Ms Berejiklian said she expected the numbers "to bounce around".
"Obviously today's number is considerably less than yesterday but don't assume that it won't be back up tomorrow because whilst there are so many people infectious in the community we expect to see those numbers bounce around.
"And what we do need is not just stabilisation, but of course the numbers go down."
NSW recorded 170 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 30, 2021
77 are linked to a known case or cluster – 61 are household contacts and 16 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 93 cases is under investigation. pic.twitter.com/2h8hq14zyt
NSW Health had reported 239 cases on Thursday.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said there were 187 COVID cases in hospital, with 58 in intensive care and 24 requiring ventilation.
Seventy-seven of the new cases were linked to a known case or cluster.
"I think this underscores the severity of COVID," Dr Chant said.
"Please get tested if you have COVID symptoms.
"Tragically we have seen people present very late for care ... outcomes can be much poorer.
"You can deteriorate very quickly, and it is important you have that diagnosis and can be linked in for care."
Ms Berejiklian said anyone considering protesting in Sydney or elsewhere at the weekend should reconsider what it could mean for their family members if they transmitted the virus to them.
"Do not give those you love the most a death sentence," Ms Berejiklian said.
More than 95,000 people were tested in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Thursday.
All new locally-acquired cases are linked to the current outbreaks, and all were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
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