Illawarra Newsroom

Illawarra Shoalhaven COVID death toll climbs as third Omicron wave arrives

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COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 30 people in the Illawarra Shoalhaven in the four weeks to June 25.

NSW Health data shows nine more people from across the Local Health District died from the virus in the week ending June 25 taking the region's death toll to 138 since the start of the year as the state braces for the third wave of Omicron driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

Health Minister Brad Hazard said the wave is likely to peak later this month or in early August.

He fears the number of serious illnesses and deaths will increase significantly unless more people have their booster.

"This increase in community transmission brings with it greatly increased risks for those not up to date with their vaccines.

"The best way you can protect yourself from serious illness or worse is to get every vaccination that is available to you," Hazzard said.

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NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said people should also exercise common sense and wear a face mask in public indoor spaces, where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

"Face masks, hand hygiene, staying home when ill, testing yourself when symptoms present, physically distancing, all these measures are not new to us.

"Unless we pull together as one again, this new wave will hit schools and businesses hard, just like BA.1 did, which saw thousands of workers absent," Dr Chant said.

Images: Wave FM News and Travis Winks