Gladys Berejiklian has again fronted the NSW morning update, announcing 1259 new cases of COVID-19.
Twelve deaths - seven women and five men - from COVID-19 were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night.
Of the 12 people who passed away, 10 people were not vaccinated, one person had one dose and another aged in his nineties had both doses.
Two of the new cases reported were acquired overseas, and 36 previously reported cases have been excluded following further investigation.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said a person who spent time in Wagga, Young and Mudgee was infectious, with contact and exposure venues to continue to be updated by NSW Health.
It is the second day the premier has stepped back up for a NSW COVID-19 update after her sudden announcement on Friday that Sunday's staple 11am press conference would be the last in the format that has become a daily ritual during the outbreak.
Ms Berejiklian said there was light at the end of the tunnel, but still work to do and urged everyone to follow the rules that are in place.
NSW is likely to achieve 80 per cent first-dose COVID-19 vaccination coverage in people 16 and older on Wednesday as authorities try to stem the spread of the virus in the Illawarra.
Some 79.5 per cent of the over-16 population in NSW had come forward to get at least one jab by Tuesday, and 47.5 per cent were fully vaccinated.
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Under the NSW government's roadmap, vaccinated people will be released from lockdown when the state reaches 70 per cent double-dose coverage - expected around in about a month.
Meanwhile, Australian Defence Force personnel have joined NSW Police in the Illawarra region to help with COVID-19 welfare and compliance checks as cases of the virus increase.
Soldiers are already helping police patrol 12 Sydney local government areas considered hotspots.
Health authorities became concerned in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District after it recorded 80 cases on the weekend and 17 more on Monday.
The coastal area includes the state's third-largest city of Wollongong.
Southern Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Joe Cassar has welcomed the arrival of troops in the Illawarra.
"Our officers and ADF personnel will be making daily visits and checking in on those who are self-isolating and making sure they're okay during lockdown," he said on Wednesday.
Some suburbs in Sydney's west and southwest remain under heightened restrictions despite having some of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty on Tuesday said it was too early to know if case numbers were flattening after the state recorded its lowest daily total in almost two weeks.
"We're seeing ... that cases haven't been increasing as fast as they have been, but that may be an effect of the weekend," he said.
"We'll look to see what's happening throughout the rest of this week to know how we're going."
- with Australian Associated Press